The House of Representatives has passed a bill for an Act to establish the National Transport Commission (NTC) as an independent multimodal transport sector regulator.
The bill, which is now up for concurrence in the Senate, would transmute the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) into NTC and transfer the staff, employees, ownership of land, assets, properties, rights, debts, liabilities, obligations, functions and powers currently vested in the NSC to NTC.
Essentially, the main objective of the bill is “to provide efficient economic regulatory framework for the transport sector, mechanism for monitoring compliance of government agencies, transport services providers and users in the regulated transport industry with relevant legislation and to advise government on matters relating to economic regulation of the regulated transport industry.”
The bill, prepared by Chairman, House Committee on Land Transport, Hon. Aminu Sani Isa, and sponsored by Hon. Osai Nicholas Osai had identified critical areas requiring urgent reforms to reposition the sector and add value to the economy.
It argued that though one of the cardinal objectives of the transport sector reforms introduced by the federal government was to bring about efficiency in the area of service delivery and reduce cost of doing business in the industry, charges have however, continued to increase, thereby forcing many transport users to take their businesses to rival ports in the West African Sub-region, with consequent massive revenue losses to our nation.
Speaking on the transformation of NSC to NTC, Isa said: “It was highly observed that the thrust of the NTC Bill is economic regulation. To a great extent this is also the main thrust of the NSC Act. For example, section 6 (1) (b), (c), and (h) of the draft NTC Bill 2015, and section 3 of the NSC Act, Cap N133, LFN 2004 have similarities of functions.”
He said: “The NSC has since its creation in 1978, established national spread and accompanying assets including a 12-storey twin towers that serves as its head office complex in Lagos, a four-storey two wings liaison office complex in Abuja, well-equipped Library, and an expansive training room as well as a fleet of operational vehicles;
“The council also has six zonal offices in the six geo-political zones as well as area and port offices spread across the states of the federation; by virtue of its experience and the fact that it has been performing similar economic regulatory functions in the port sub sector of the transport industry, the council is most suitable and easily adaptable to perform the role of an economic regulator.”
The transformation is also aimed at cost saving, avoidance of duplication of agencies and easy adaptability among others.