National Transport Commission Bill

National Transport Commission Bill: Policy, Law and Regulatory Review

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National Transport Commission Bill

National Transport Commission Law, the bill was passed by the National Assembly in 2013, but presidential assent was refused because it failed to address some key considerations. Nonetheless, this bill provides a means to strengthen the prospects of the transport industry in Nigeria. By establishing an independent regulator, the National Transport Commission, operations in the sector will progress more seamlessly. 

This work has been created by Brickstone Africa’s experts to examine the objectives of National Transport Commission Bill, its potentials, as well as the challenges that might stunt its implementation.  

This White Paper starts by giving a brief outlook of the current state of Nigeria’s Transport Sector. It mentions how the sector is highly unstructured and unregulated, and how these factors deter growth in the sector. As identified in the white paper, today, the transport sector is controlled by different private individuals who have less or no regard for standards or regulations. Worse, in many cases, touts and other inexperienced individuals are deployed to ensure continuous operation in the industry. 

As a result of the status quo of the industry and in a bid to consolidate the potentials of the Nigerian Transport Sector, the National Assembly has passed the National Transport Commission Bill in 2013. Unfortunately, assent was declined by the president for three reasons. 

First, the executive arm of government believes that National Transport Commission Bill ought to provide for the removal of safety issues because the bill is primarily for economic regulations. Second, there should be a reduction of the royalty to be paid to the Commission as a source of funds, from 10% to 5%. Lastly, there should be a reduction of the freight stabilization fee from 3% to 1%. Considering these issues, the legislative arm has taken back the bill, and is reviewing it. 

The National Transport Commission Bill, as analyzed by this White Paper, is applicable to the use and operation of transport and related services in the aviation, marine/water, rail, and road sub sectors in Nigeria. Also, it establishes the National Transport Commission as the chief regulator of the transportation industry. 

The function of this Commission is well spelt out to include creating an economic regulatory framework for the provision of transport services and facilities; facilitating significant competition and promoting a competitive market in the industry; conducting and ensuring that the misuse of monopoly or non-transitory market power is prevented in the provision of transport services; promoting private sector participation in the provision of transport services; and ensuring that operators and users have equitable access to the use of transport facilities, services, channels and routes while having recourse to the level of competition and efficiency of the regulated transport industry; etc.

Moving forward, this White Paper gives an extensive exposition as to the objectives of the National Transport Commission Bill. Basically, it was created to establish an economic regulator (National Transport Commission) which will be in charge of and undertake activities in the Nigerian Transport Industry. This body will also operate as an independent regulator to promote multimodal transport and boost private sector participation in the provision of transport services in Nigeria. 

Specifically, in the National Transport Commission Bill, it is provided that the objectives of the National Transport Commission Bill are:

  • Promote the implementation of the national transport policy; to promote an economic regulatory framework for the transport sector or regulated transport industry;
  • To provide a mechanism for monitoring compliance of government agencies and transport operators in the regulated transport industry with relevant legislation and to advice Government on matters relating to the economic regulation of regulated transport industry;
  • To provide efficient economic regulation of the transport sector;
  • To protect the rights and interest of service operators and users within Nigeria; and finally, to create an enabling environment for private sector participation in the provision of services in the transport sector.

This White Paper also discusses the foreseeable impacts of the National Transport Commission Bill, some of which includes that first, since the commission will be an independent economic regulator, there is going to be an eradication or reduction of private monopoly and non-transitory market powers in the transport sector. Second, that because the bill provides for specific regulatory frameworks, there is going to be room for proper operations and regulation of the transport sector. 

Furthermore, since the National Transport Commission Bill will separate operators in the industry from the regulator of the sector and the operators will have little or no power to influence the decisions of the independent regulator, there is great potential for significant development in the transport industry. Lastly, since the transport sector is one that drives growth in the Nigerian economy, the bill will serve as a catalyst to promote inclusive economic growth when successfully implemented. 

In addition, this White Paper also discusses three major possible challenges to the successful implementation of the proposed bill. Identified firstly is the problem of political will which occurs as a result of the culture of the important stakeholders in any Nigerian industry to ensure that every government policy which will affect them and their businesses, suffers set back in its implementation. In fact, it is important to be aware that mainly because of this challenge, this National Transport Commission Bill which was first introduced to the National Assembly in 2008, is sadly still a bill as of 2020, even with the great economic potentials it promises. 

Second, another challenge identified is the issue of established monopoly. As emphasized at the beginning of this White Paper, the Nigerian Transport Sector is currently under the control of private individuals who have established themselves as strongholds in the industry, it would be extremely difficult to eradicate these people. As a result, this issue is bound to be a clog in the wheel of the successful implementation of the bill when it becomes an act.

Finally, the infrastructural deficit that Nigeria faces will also affect the implementation of the National Transport Commission Bill whenever it is passed into law. There is a need to build and upgrade infrastructures in the industry, because if the infrastructures are left in their current state, there is little that the existence of the National Transport Commission can do. 

 

 

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