ABUJA (PWH Ministry’ Report)- The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola, has said there is need to factor in other existing government policies into the newly proposed National Transport Bill currently being considered by the Senate Joint Committee on Land Transport, Marine Transport and Aviation. He made this call recently at a one- day Public Hearing on a bill for an Act to provide for the Establishment of the National Transport Commission as an Independent Multi-Model Economic Regulator for the Transport Industry and other Related Matters.
The Minister commended the National Assembly for allowing officials of the ministries and other agencies of government to contribute in the decision making process of the legislative draft bill for the entire benefit of the people and the nation at large.
Fashola stated that, though he has not been privileged to other bills as its relate to the Ministry of Transport, adding that his intervention and that of the ministry will be more of advisory, cautionary and demanding of perhaps so much retrospection before making a final decision on the bill.
Policy, according to the minister continues almost globally and they originate from Ministries. “We must at this point ask ourselves what is the transport policy that we seek to implement?” He noted for example that government has a policy on safety which brought about the establishment of the Federal Road Safety Commission to implement its policy on safety. Also, government’s policy on road maintenance led to the creation of the Federal Road Maintenance Agency. Similarly, Its policy on housing brought about the establishment of the Federal Housing Authority, same in the Aviation sector and other sectors. The Minister called for retrospection in making a lasting policy that would make the transport industry a viable one, adding that for this to be achieved; there is need for the Senate committee to constitute a technical body to look into all the grey areas before passage of the bill into law.
Earlier in his opening remarks, the chairman of the Senate Joint Committee on Land Transport, Marine Transport and Aviation, Sen. Olugbenga Asafa welcomed and thanked the special guests and other participants for honouring their invitation. He enjoined the sector professionals and stakeholders to cooperate with the committee as they solicit and galvanized more information on the bill which is crucial to the transport industry.
He however noted that the establishment of the National Transport Commission connotes an independent regulatory body in the transport sector. The Commission among others is to be responsible for the provision of transport policies, regulate the transport industry, protect the right and interest of service operators and commuters; and create an enabling environment for private sector participation in the provision of essential services in the transport sector.
While declaring the one-day public hearing open, the Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, who was represented by the Senate Leader, Sen. Ali Ndume welcomed participants and remarked that the essence of the public hearing was to seek the most updated knowledge on information of matters before them. The Senate President said that, the Senate has identified the National Transport Bill among other bills that will help us develop our transport sector in a manner that would cut cost of doing business with efficiency and innovation.
According to him, “The bill when passed into law will provide the legal, regulatory and institutional basic necessity to interconnect, synchronized and share government policy in the entire spectrum of transport in the country from aviation to land and marine, adding that it will add enormous potentials to help our entrepreneurs to move goods and services much more efficient and reliably in a multi-model system.”
The proposed bill for an act to create the National Transport Commission is being sponsored by Senator Andy Uba of the Senate Joint Committee on Land Transport, Marine Transport and Aviation.