By Kasim Sumaina in Abuja
The Federal Government has disclosed that once the National Transport Commission (NTC) Bill is signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari, the Nigeria Shippers’ Council will automatically transmute into NTC.
The Minister of Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, who disclosed this in an interactive session with journalists in Abuja, stressed that the lingering uncertainty around the composition of the National Transport Commission (NTC) and when it will eventually come into effect had been settled as the federal government had confirmed the Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC) will transmute to NTC.
According to him, “The Law (Bill) converting Nigerian Shippers Council to the National Transport Commission has been passed by both houses of the national assembly and waiting for Mr. President’s assent.”
He said, specifically, the Senate on 16th March 2018 passed the National Transport Commission (NTC) Bill. Recall that the House of Representatives had on April 12, 2017 similarly passed the bill.
The minister, added that, the Bill seeks in character and purpose, to replace the Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC) with the National Transport Commission (NTC).
He explained that the NTC, “When operational will address the current state of the transport industry by creating efficient transportation economy well driven by transport inter-modalism currently lacking in the transport sector.”
A peep into the prescriptions of the Bill as passed, showed that the NTC also seeks to entrench and provide efficient economic regulation of the various segments of the transportation industry – maritime, road, rail, aviation and, inland waterways.
The NTC is also conceived to be an effective, impartial and independent regulatory authority in the transport sector and to set out the objectives, functions and powers of the commission. It is also to promote the implementation of the National Transport Policy (NTP) when implemented and provide for an efficient economic regulation of the transport sector.
The NTC will provide mechanism for monitoring compliance of government agencies and transport operators in the regulated transport industry with relevant legislation/policies and advice government on matters relating to economic regulation of Nigeria’s transport industry, among others.
Similarly, the Executive Secretary, Nigerian Shippers’ Council, Hassan Bello, explained that, it was not the shippers’ council alone that might constitute the NTC, stating that other agencies that have expertise in other areas will be co-opted.
Bello, stated that, it’s not a wholesome transmutation of the shippers’ council into NTC but, “the council will be the base or nucleus if you like because it is one that is best suited to perform that function. We will draw from aviation, NPA, railways and others so we can build the desired capacity and competence.”
“The NTC is also a multi-sectoral regulatory agency based on economic regulation. Don’t get me wrong – economic regulation is different from technical regulation. Other agencies will be performing their technical regulations.
“Even now we have collaborated so well with NIMASA and I have to always thank the DG of NIMASA because he is versatile. We have also collaborated with NIWA and we have also collaborated with the Nigerian Railways, all on economic issues” he explained further.
“Industry stakeholders unanimously agreed that the NTC will be better executed if the NSC is empowered to execute the mandate,” he said.