Minister opposes establishment of transport commission

Edwin Akwueh, Abuja

A proposal to establish a National Transport Commission (NTC) to regulate activities in the transportation sector has been opposed by the Transport Minister, Chibuike Ameachi.

Mr. Amaechi made the rejection during his presentation at a public hearing on National Transport Commission Bill, jointly held by Land Transport, Marine Transport and Aviation committees of the Senate.

The Senators, who earlier made the proposal, had insisted on the establishment of the new commission to regulate the transport sector of the economy, but Mr. Amaechi rather canvassed for the empowerment of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council to carry out the responsibilities of the proposed agency.

Driving the sector efficiently
In his submission, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Land Transport, Senator Gbenga Ashafa, who also chaired the hearing, argued that new commission would formulate transport policies for the government and private sector to drive the sector more effectively.

“I urge everyone to cooperate with us. This bill is crucial to the survival of our transportation sector of the economy. The establishment of this commission will be responsible for the regulation of transport policies.

“It will monitor the regulation of government policies as they relate to the transportation sector. What I consider most instructive here will be that we now have an agency that will formulate policies for the transportation sector of the economy.”

However, while urging the lawmakers to rather incorporate the proposed National Transport Commission into Nigerian Shippers Council, the transport Minister said: “it must be noted, that the NTC Bill has similar functions to those being performed by the Nigerian Shippers’ Council.”

“Based on the similarities in functions and purposes between the NSC and the proposed NTC, BPE and majority of industry stakeholders, accepted and called for the NSC to be adapted and empowered to perform the functions of the economic regulator.”

He further stated that, “Considering the strategic role of the NSC in the Maritime and Transport industry, wealth of experience in economic regulation, resources at its disposal and national spread across the six geo-political zones of the country, it is strongly believed that the NSC can be adapted to become the National Transport Commission.                                 

“Therefore, for the National Assembly to proceed with legislative process on the National Transport Commission Bill, to create an entirely new agency, to perform the functions of an already existing one, will amount to duplication of functions/roles and multiplicity of agencies, waste of resources; taking into consideration, decline in the national revenue as a result of dwindling oil prices and departure against the current Nigerian Government’s policy of streamlining its agencies for efficiency and cost effectiveness.”