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The recent passage of the National Transport Commission bill which will repeal and replace Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC) Act by the House of Representatives has started to elicit reactions from stakeholders and top officials of the Council in Apapa, Lagos.
In a brief telephone interview with Mr. Nweke, head of the Media in the federal agency, he said “Yes we welcome the move by lawmakers with excitement, and we believe that when it finally becomes an Act, the industry will gain more”.
He said there is not much to say now until the bill becomes an Act of the National Assembly and operational.
Details gathered by Business Hilights National Assembly correspondent showed that the passed Bill for an Act to establish the National Transport Commission (NTC) as an independent multimodal transport sector regulator will give more powers to the new Council to drive port regulations.
Whereas the industry awaits for the needed concurrence in the Senate, the Act on delivery will among other things migrate 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.
Additional details show that 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.”
It would be recalled that the emerging Act was introduced 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.
Very key in the targets of the new bill include to drive maritime transport sector reforms introduced by the federal government in terms of efficiency in the area of service delivery and reduce cost of doing business in the industry.
In his lead argument for the bill, 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.”
“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.”