Consumer Protection Agency Apologizes as Shippers Council Intervenes over Invasion of Shipping Companies

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*We are now actually examining the full facts, says Jime
By Francis Ugwoke
The Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) has apologized to the ports economic regulator over the invasion of some shipping companies in Lagos in what disrupted their operations last week.
The apology from the management of the agency was conveyed to the Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC) following its intervention last week on the matter.
Executive Secretary of the Council, Mr. Emmanuel Jime, who disclosed this to newsmen on Monday, explained that the apology came as the ports economic regulator sought to intervene on the matter between the shipping companies and the FCCPC.
Jime said that the FCCPC admitted that its operatives “should not have done what they did without passing through the Council in recognition of the Council” as the ports economic regulator.
Noting that though the consumer protection agency has far more formidable sort of mandate which really allows them to take certain steps, he however said it was understood that to do things the proper way, the agency needed to have informed the Council as the ports economic regulator to seek collaboration.
“The understanding is we should have collaborative efforts, not one agency waking up and deciding that I have all the powers. There is a recognition that that directive was not handled according to proper procedures. They have acknowledged that”, he said.
Jime disclosed that the Council was now at a stage of investigating the full facts on what led to the issues between the shipping companies and the FCCPC.
“We are now in a stage of actually examining the full facts so that we can see first what does the law say as far as their powers and also to get the shipping companies to speak to them with the understanding of what really are the issues”, he said.
He assured that the Council will carry out a thorough investigation to be able to arrive at conclusion and resolution of the matter in the way that will benefit the industry.
Jime also added that as umpire, the Council will not in any way take side with anyone who is wrong in any matter.
According to him, ” Our job here is not to take side with anyone. Yes, we regulate the industry and we also protect but that is to the extent that you are also right to get the protection that we are giving you. So, if obviously what you are not doing is not correct, it is Shippers Council as regulator to point out that to you, that you too, you have to take a look in the mirror and see whether your processes need to be amended or some sort of correct measure should be taken”.
“The summary is that NSC is intervening and we are looking at the issues from both sides of the divide so that we can call someone to order and say, if it is Consumer Protection Agency that is wrong, this is the extent to which they have gone wrong and this type of thing should not be allowed to happen again. If it is the shipping companies that have an issue, we let them know that okay, may be the Consumer Protection Agency did the wrong thing but I will call them to order, but you too take a look at what you did and see whether we should not do some corrective measures as we proceed. So, long and short, we are intervening and we believe at the end of the day, we shall come to the conclusion and resolution of the matter in the way that benefits the industry”.
Jime stressed the need for advocacy to be able to resolve issues that can affect the industry as a whole.
Operatives of the FCCPC had on Monday last week stormed the offices of some shipping companies in Lagos.
Officials of the Commission were accompanied for the operation with armed security agents.
Among the shipping companies who were visited in what paralyzed official activities include CMA CGM, COSCO, Hull Blyth, Hapag Lloyd and LANSAL.
The details of why the Commission stormed the offices of shipping agencies were not very clear, sources said FCCPC came to investigate areas of infringement of the rights of consumers of shipping.

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