By Edozie Obasi-Eze
As part of efforts to ensure healthy business conduct among operators in Nigeria’s maritime sector, the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) has inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC).
Chief Executive Officer, FCCPC, Babatunde Irukera, made the disclosure at the ceremony on Thursday, in Abuja, where he also expressed optimism that the move would remove bottlenecks and increase effective commerce in the industry.
On the rationale behind the MoU, he said, “We are partners in making sure that consumers are treated fairly, market operates robustly and ensuring that the playing field is level for all in the market, without entry barriers.”
Irukera expressed confidence that the agreement would become operational in no distant time.
The CEO commended the NSC’s approach to work with the Commission, and described it as both collaborative and supportive.
In his words, “For us, consumption is as much about pricing, as it is with disposable income and with satisfaction.
“People are likely to purchase again if they are satisfied and if there is enough money to purchase again, so, we are partners in making sure that consumers are treated fairly.
“We share the view that shippers are entitled to a fair recompense for the work and service they provide and by the same token, they share the view that the interim payers or the ultimate payers for the service they provide are also entitled to a fair value, for money proposition.
“Our work is to find that balance, make sure commerce increases and ensure there are no bottlenecks to commerce.
“We will also ensure that those in the business themselves are not bottlenecks to fairness to the citizens of this country.”
In the same vein, Executive Secretary, NSC, Emmanuel Jime, opined that the industry is very sensitive sector of the economy.
He explained that the council was involved in costs’ modulation to the extent that ultimate benefits to the consumers were guaranteed.
According to Jime, “Cost effectiveness is the key element of how services are delivered and when competition is properly monitored and consumers protected, it impacts costs.
“We are sector regulators, we have a common interest and we have to engender a common understanding.
“There is a need to have this kind of partnerships.”
Recall that the FCCPC had in 2021 executed a judicial search warrant and order of the Federal High Court, to actively investigate potential anti-competitive conducts in the shipping industry.