The Federal Government has promised to improve the nation’s transport infrastructure stock, which it noted is largely inadequate and constitutes a major cost constraint to businesses.
Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) Boss Mustapha, who stated this in Lagos on Thursday at the Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC) Stakeholders’ Appreciation Night, said the nation’s transport system currently lags behind its peers in terms of scale and quantity as the World Economic Forum places Nigeria behind South Africa, Kenya and others.
To reverse the trend, he said the Federal Government is leveraging on private sector infrastructure investments through Public Private Partnership (PPP), adding that adequate regulatory framework is also a key element to scaling up investments in infrastructure.
Represented by the Permanent Secretary, Political and Economic Affairs in the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss assured that the National Transport Commission (NTC) Bill will become law soon to enable the body oversee the transport sector reforms.
Explaining reasons why President Muhammadu Buhari has not assented to the bill, he said, “The National Assembly passed the National Transport Commission bill earlier this year, but we are sorting some technicalities and use of language that would bother on overlap of functions with other agencies and needs to be clearly delineated. As soon as that is sorted, we should have a befitting law for the good of the whole. I can assure you that on its part, the executive is committed to playing its role in the passage of the National Transport Commission bill into law.”
The SGF said for Nigeria’s economy to be propelled at the desired speed, there is the need to establish a body to regulate the sector and provide technical oversight for the provision of transport services, monitor compliance of government agencies and service providers, with relevant legislation for efficient operations through consolidation, removal of duplicity and regulatory functions of public agencies.
Industry stakeholders who gathered at the event including the Chairman, Seaport Terminal Association of Nigeria (STOAN), Princess Vicky Hasstrup; Director-General of Manufacturing Association of Nigeria (MAN), Mansur Ahmed; former Minister of Interior, Capt. Emmanuel Ihenacho; immediate past president, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) Dr. Nike Akande were all full of praises for the Executive Secretary of the NSC, Hassan Bello for the giant strides recorded by the council under his leadership and for fostering unity among stakeholders.
The Chairman of STOAN, Princess Vicky Haastrup said contrary to public perception “terminal operators and the Nigerian Shippers’ Council are not fighting”.
Other dignitaries who graced the occasion include two former Managing Directors of the Council, Dr. Kingsley Usoh and Chief Adebayo Sarumi. Others were the Director-General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) Dakuku Peterside, Chairman, Ship Owners Forum, Mrs. Margret Onyema-Orakwusi and Chairman, Ship owners Association of Nigeria, (SOAN) Engr. Greg Ogbeifun, among others.