Following the realization of the imperatives of developing an integrated and modern transport policy to drive trade and investments in Nigeria, experts have recommended the establishment of a National Transport Commission to regulate economic activities in the sector.
recommendation was the highlight of the report the Inter-Ministerial Committee for the Finalization of the Draft National Transport Policy (NTP) recently submitted to the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi.
I9-member Committee was drawn from various areas of expertise into four sub-committees covering air, water, land (road and rail), education and training; to critically subject the various chapters of the document to further review bearing in mind global best practices.
The committee comprised of the Secretary General, Abuja MoU on Port State Control as Chairperson; Director, Road Transport & Mass Transit Admin (FMT), Member; Director, Rail Services Dept (FMT), Member; Director, Air Transport Management (FMT), Member; Managing Director, NRC, Member; Director General, NITT, Member; Rector, MAN, Oron, Member; Rector, NCAT, Member; Corp Marshal, FRSC, Member; Director General, ACETEM, Member; President, CILT, Member; President, NSE, Member; and six Commissioners representing each of the six Geopolitical Zones in the country.
According to the report, the NTP is a practical and pragmatic response to Nigeria’s need for an integrated, modern and efficient transportation industry that can serve as a vital gateway and link for Nigeria’s internal and external trade in agriculture, energy, mining/oil and gas, manufacturing and other sectors that depend on transport.
The fundamental goal of the NTP is to develop an adequate, safe, secure, environmentally sound, efficient, affordable, preferred and integrated transport system within the framework of a progressive and competitive market economy.
The report further added that the purpose of the NTP is to establish a framework that can guide the planning and development of transport activities in a systematic and sustainable manner for the social and economic development of Nigeria.
Chairman of the Inter-Ministerial Committee, Mrs Mfon Usoro said the new draft NTP provides for integrated transport system, governance and implementation strategies.
She noted that achieving the vision and objectives defined in the policy requires specific institutional and legal arrangements including progressing from the construct of transport as a shared responsibility, to promoting a shift from the traditional sector-specific silo approaches to transport management, to a more integrated ‘whole of government’ approach to the development and management of transport, through harmonized institutional, policy and legal arrangements.
Usoro also observed that the NTP has identified the Federal Ministry of Transportation to provide a coordinating role among all national agencies and competent bodies with a mandate for the management of the transportation industry, which includes a National Transport Commission to serve as economic regulator for the transport industry.
Speaking on the necessity of diversifying the transport sector, Amaechi said there was need to invest more in the technological aspect of transportation.
“We need to leverage on what we know. People are shouting intermodal transport; I went to the new airport in Singapore and I didn’t find one person at the airport. As you walk in, technology takes over."
“They also said in the next few years, they would introduce driverless cars. We should also think outside the box about how to improve our transport sector. We should see how much investment we can put in the area of ICT. Intelligence transportation should not be ignored”.
He added: “What we assure Nigerians is that under the Buhari administration; we would do everything possible to ensure that we maximize the resources that President by way of budget releases to each ministry”.
Amaechi promised to review the committee’s recommendations and present it to the Federal Cabinet for approval”.
Usoro reiterated that the NTP emphasizes the importance of integrating transport with other aspects of government policy. She acknowledged that different states in the federation have differing transport needs and priorities but the guiding principles in the document apply throughout the country.
“It is hoped that all transport related government agencies in the Federal, State and Local Governments will adopt and reflect the broad principles in the document into each of their respective transport plans as appropriate”, she stated.