Again, Lagos dares FG on water transport regulations
• We don’t need NIWA’s license to build transport jetties, says Fashola
The battle line appears drawn between Lagos State and the Federal government over the latter’s regulatory policy on the nation’s waterways’ public transportation.
Lagos State governor, Mr Babatunde Raji Fashola, who yesterday set the stage for an imminent clash with the FG on the issue said his administration would not comply with certain aspects of the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) Act as set out by the FG in which he alleged undue control of the states’ apparatus.
The governor spoke at the opening ceremony of the 13th National Council on Transportation meeting which held Thursday, at the Civic Center in Victoria Island, Lagos.
Governor Fashola who had in his audience dignitaries amongst whom was the Minister of Transport, Senator Idris Umar and the Managing Director of NIWA, Hajia Mariam Ciroma, vowed that Lagos state government would not comply with the FG’s requirement under the NIWA Act asking states to obtain licenses before they could build jetties for public water transportation purposes.
According to him, such regulatory powers were “anti-people” and as such would not be observed by his government.
“We will reflect seriously on the role of NIWA to the state in the areas of policy formulation and management of water transportation… I can’t agree with NIWA asking me to get a license from them before we can build a water transport jetty for the public. NIWA says we must get its approval to build a bridge that will facilitate water transportation that will alleviate the movement of the public. We say no to that!’ he said.
Earlier, Fashola advocated for an enhanced regulatory framework on water transportation which would evolve a public-private sector partnership.
According to him, “legislation must be sought to promote the participation of the private sector and private sector skills in developing the sector.
“We must create an environment that would encourage the private sector to find the transport sector attractive for business, such that he would be willing to put his money in a sector that he is sure that his investment is secured and in an environment where the legislature also prevents him from taking advantage of his situation to unduly exploit the masses in the name of profit making.”
The governor also drew applause when he spoke against the use of siren by public officers thereby constituting noise pollution as well as putting peoples’ life at risk due to recless driving by such aides to the personalities involved.
Earlier in his keynote address, Minister of Transport, Senator Umar Idris, recalled that as the highest advisory body in the transport sub sector, the National Council on Transport (NCT), had been living up to expectation in its statutory role.
Describing the Council meeting as an avenue for stakeholders to dialogue with the Federal government, he said the forum had offered more opportunities to “share experiences and synchronize efforts of the Federal government…in order to build consensus and attain resolutions for the development of the nation’s transport sector”.
He said this year’s meeting with the theme: transformation of Transport Infrastructure: Catalyst for social Economic growth was most apt “because it is consistent with the commitment and determination” of the present regime.
He disclosed that most of the resolutions reached at the 2012 meeting of the NCT had largely been met and duly implemented.
Such resolutions, according to him, bothered on the inland waterways transportation and the challenges of flooding which had witnessed the dredging of the lower River Benue, while the construction of the Makurdi port would be concluded before the year ends.
The Minister also reiterated the implementation of last year’s resolution which stipulated the encouragement of the indigenous participation in shipping transport affairs and the need for the private sector to take advantage of the provisions of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) Act.
“I am glad to say that NIMASA has recommended applications from six indigenous operators for the acquisition of funds under the Cabotage Vessel Financing Funds (CVFF). The recommendations from NIMASA are being evaluated”, he said, adding that “appropriate approvals and disbursement will be made upon conclusion of the due diligence.”