Government rejects move by Senate to scrap Shippers’ Council
The Federal Government yesterday disagreed with the Senate over its plan to set up a National Transport Commission in the place of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council.
While the Senate Committees on Land and Marine Transport are insisting on the establishment of the new commission to regulate the transport sector of the economy, the Minister of Transport, Mr. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi wants the Nigerian Shippers Council empowered to carry out the responsibilities of the proposed commission.
The senators and Amaechi made their submissions during a public hearing on a National Transport Commission Bill. The public hearing was jointly organised by Land Transport, Marine Transport and Aviation committees of the Senate.
The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Land Transport, Senator Gbenga Ashafa, said that the new commission would formulate transport policies for the government and private sector.
Ashafa said: “I urge everyone to cooperate with us. This bill is crucial to the survival of our transportation sector of the economy.
“The establishment of this commission will be responsible for the regulation of transport policies. It will monitor the regulation of government policies as they relate to the transportation sector.
However, Amaechi said: “The NTC bill has similar functions to those being performed by the Nigerian Shippers’ Council. Based on the similarities in functions and purposes between the NSC and the proposed NTC, BPE, majority of the industry stakeholders accepted and called for the NSC to be adapted appropriately and empowered to perform the functions of the economic regulator.
“Considering the strategic role of the NSC in the maritime and transport industry, wealth of experience in economic regulation, resources at its disposal and national spread across the six geo-political zones in the country, it is strongly believed that the NSC can be adapted to become the National Transport Commission.”
According to the minister, “Proceeding with the legislative process on the National Transport Commission Bill, to create an entirely new agency, to perform the functions of an already existing one, would amount to the duplication of functions/roles and multiplicity of agencies, waste of resources taking into consideration, decline in the national revenue as a result of dwindling oil prices, and a departure from the current Federal Government’s policy of streamlining its agencies for efficiency and cost effectiveness.”