• Tuesday, July 23, 2024
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Is national transportation bill jinxed?

Customs official dies during committee meeting at National Assembly

Recently, transport stakeholders under the aegis of Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Transport Trade Group (TTG) and National Chamber Policy Centre (NCPC) organised a round-table conference on Road Corridor Development Initiative in Nigeria.

The conference lamented the continuous stagnation of the transportation sector due to the delay in assenting to the NTC bill by President Muhammadu Buhari. According to the group, the huge resources needed to develop the road sector cannot be provided by the government alone without the private sector contribution, noting the lack of a regulatory framework has been an impediment to the growth of the sector.

Reeling out their observations, the organised private sector group insisted that for the integrated road corridor development to be achieved and to be sustained for economic growth, the president has to sign into law the National Transport Commission (NTC) Bill. When signed and fully implemented, it will not only open a new vista in our development strides, it will also speed up the multimodal approach to transport sector development in Nigeria while ensuring that the various transport modes complement each other.

The chairman of the conference Bukhari Bello was assertive and positive in his contribution when he said, “Once the NTC Bill is signed into law, the transport sector will witness a new lease of life.”

He emphasised that the proposed commission will create a regulatory structure that will in turn enhance investor’s confidence that will boost investment in the sector.

The long journey of NTC Bill began in 2008 when it was first introduced at the National Assembly. As of today, NTC Bill seems to be the oldest and unassented bill in our national history.

Every regime of the National Assembly will dust it, harmonise the grey areas, breath life into it and transmit to the presidency for assent but the complexities associated with it always keep it on hold.

When Senator Gbenga Ashafa Joint Senate Committee of Land, Transport, Marine Transport and Aviation Transport worked on it in 2018, the committee described the bill as one of the best things that will happen to the transport industry. At that time, it was assumed the NTC was one of the priority economic bills of the eight Senate that is capable of setting the transport sector on the path of positive development.

The major objective of the Transport Sector Reform Bill is to harmonise the activities within the Transport sector and provide for proper and effective regulation of the sector through removing any areas of conflict of functions or confusion of roles by government agencies as well as encouraging effective collaboration and synergy among the various agencies so as to bring about efficiency in the sector.

Kingsley Usoh in his book, Effective Transport Systems, noted that transport sector is the wheel that drives any economy. “The development of the transport sector of any economy is an index to measure the growth of that country’s economy

Major objective of the National Transport Commission (NTC) Bill is to promote the implementation of the National Transport Policy, provide an economic regulatory framework for the transport sector while also providing mechanism for monitoring, compliance of government agencies and transport operators in the regulated transport industry.

Read also: Functional transportation: Critical to poverty reduction and ease of doing business

Furthermore, the NTC Bill is designed to eliminate obstacles in the sector, facilitate services while reducing bureaucracy to the barest minimum. It will stimulate the productive process be it in the agro-sector, in the manufacturing or mining sectors which in turn speeds up the economic cycle with an enhanced Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Since the people are a leader’s final reference which demands that all decisions and vision must serve the interest of the populace, why then is the presidency not assenting to the NTC Bill that will bring about economic recovery?

Professor Badejo, who has been an active player in the nation’s transport sector, hailed the protagonists of the NTC Bill, saying it would solve the problems created as a result of competition among the existing transport agencies. It is an effort to create a multimodal transport sector, economic and safety oversight regulator for the entire industry. “This is very good for business as it brings standard and structure to the transport sector while also increasing the revenue of government”, he added.

We need a regulator equivalent to what we have in the telecommunication sector NCC, the financial sector CBN and National Universities Commission NUC, as an independent regulator of this status that will reduce the chaos in the transport sector.

In his submission, Dr Oti, a Transport Management strategist opined that NTC will bring about values that will entrench dispute management system, introduce some level of competition, there will be entry and exit window, exploitation will be reduced, there will be transparency while the sector will be ethically driven with best global practices. He urged the President to assent to the bill without delay.

Finally, the level of work and tinkering done by the 9th Assembly on NTC Bill has drastically reduced areas of conflict which the president requested. The organized Private sector led by MAN, state chambers of commerce, industry and Mines, Association of Transport owners, logistics and haulage companies are all in sync that the President should sign the NTC Bill while Nigerian Shippers’ Council transmutes as the Commission due to its pedigree.

As the Minister of Transportation Rt. Hon Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi will always profess that the NTC Bill will fix the many problems that have for decades impacted negatively on the transport sector. It is going to be a new dawn as it will galvanize the sector to be private sector driven thereby reducing government over bearing involvement and influence, he added.

As we await the assent of President Buhari to NTC Bill, let him be guided with an old cliché that says, vox populi, vox dei, which says, the voice of the people is the voice of God. Let him do the needful and continue to record successes in his administration.