Where Is the National Transport Commission?

Stakeholders and Nigerians in general have been expecting the inauguration of the National Transport Commission (NTC) projected to transform the transportation industry, just as the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) have done to the telecommunications and banking sectors respectively. A bill for the establishment of the NTC was passed by the Senate and the House of Representatives in March and April 2018 respectively.

Transportation minister Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi promised that President Buhari would sign the bill into law once it was passed by the legislature. But the president did not assent to the bill as presented to him in 2018. It was later explained that he wanted safety issues in the bill removed, royalty to be paid to the commission reduced from 10% to 5%, and the freight stabilization fee slashed from 3% to 1%.

We believe these corrections have been made, and a cleaner bill is now in the National Assembly. It should be acted on immediately, since it is a good policy that must not be allowed to end up in the archives or the trash can. A properly constituted commission would take the task of implementing the National Transport Policy in its stride. Also, the “National Single Window” project approved by the federal government since 2016, which aims to collapse the operations of all government agencies at the ports into a one-stop shop for efficient and seamless port operations, has yet to take off. Having a regulator like the NTC would, of course, translate to having a single window for payment of port and other charges, and then eliminating arbitrary charges and unnecessary bureaucracy. This would certainly encourage the ease of doing business in the country. Nigeria is now the only country in the West African region without a “Single Window” project.

Delaying the inauguration of the NTC further could be injurious to the health of the national economy. Bright ideas have been enunciated; implementation should follow swiftly. There would, thereafter, be one body Nigerians could hold responsible for the woes — or thank for the triumphs — of the transportation industry. Whether we are talking about waterways, railways, airways or road transportation, the current state of the industry is not excellent. Efficiency in a transportation economy is lacking, partly because there is no commission to drive an inter-modal transportation policy already created.

Meanwhile, we urge the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) to fast-track restoration of the Cargo Tracking Note (CTN). Undue delays and inefficiency caused by the lack of an ICT-driven cargo tracking system are inimical to ports and shipping services. First introduced 10 years ago, the CTN was suspended in 2011, reintroduced by the NSC in 2015, and abandoned again in 2018. Now that consultations with stakeholders that initially opposed it (because of increased charges) have been completed, it should be restored immediately.

In this era of fund scarcity, government revenues deserve a boost. A transport commission would do just that. The soon-to-be NTC would regulate the transport industry by promoting implementation of the National Transport Policy: it would ensure an economic regulatory framework for the transport sector, a mechanism for monitoring compliance of government agencies and transport operators, and protection of the rights and interests of service operators and users of the transport sector. The commission would also be empowered to create an enabling environment for private-sector participation in the transport industry.

Once the NTC comes on board, all the agencies that have expertise in aviation, maritime, shipping, railways and roads can join together to build the desired capacity and competence. We hope to witness the birth of the National Transport Commission in the new year.


Most Popular

To Top