New role: Challenges before Shippers’ council

The preferred agency suitable to transform into the National Transport Commission (NTC), needs about 1,500 personnel to effectively discharge its responsibilities.
In its new task of regulating the transport industry, it was gathered that NTC would cover maritime, land and rail transportation system.
Its assignment shall also cover all the 36 states in the country.

Power
The power of the Commission shall include licensing operators, users, shippers and consumers or any other person involved in the regulated transport industry; implement government’s economic regulatory policies on transport; examine and resolve complaints; protect interest of users of transport services by ensuring that prices are fair and reasonable as well as using dispute-resolution methods as the commission may determine from time to time including mediation and arbitration.
Also, the Commission shall have powers to register all transport service providers and determine the fees for such registration; set guidelines and general policies on tariffs charged; monitor compliance by public and private transport service operators and suppliers of prescribed goods and services; monitor the relationship between public transport service operators and their affiliates and the relationship between concessionaires and their affiliates to ensure that no party derives unfair advantages over other transport service operators; develop, enforce and monitor performance standards and indices relating to the quality of transport services and facilities provided to users, shippers and consumers in Nigeria, having regard to best international performance indicators.

Workers
Currently, the NSC needs about 1,000 workforce before it can transmute into the proposed NTC, according to a staff in its Lagos office, who preferred anonymity.
The source told our correspondent that the council currently has a workforce of 500 personnel, which is below the capacity of the commission.
He explained that the council was the right agency suitable to transform into the commission, adding that about 1,500 personnel would be needed to cover all the 36 states at the initial stage.
He explained that a zonal coordinator or director would oversee the affairs of each state.
The source also said that workers currently in the council were not enough to push the new commission.
Already, the House of Representatives has passed the NTC Bill into law. It is now in the Senate for concurrence.
It was learnt that NSC would transfer the employees, ownership of land, assets, properties, rights, debts, liabilities, obligations, functions and powers currently vested in it to NTC.
Regulation
Also, the source explained that the task before NSC was beyond port regulation.
He said : “This commission is beyond the port industry. It cuts across all the modes of transportation.
“The commission, when established, will regulate the port, inland waterways, road and rail sectors.
“Although we have competent staff in the council who have been trained in various fields, but the figure is not enough for the commission; we need between 800 and 1,000 to consolidate the current 500 staff.”
NSC’s strength
Currently, the council has offices in 22 states of the federation – seven coordinating offices and 15 area offices.
Besides, the Executive Secretary of the council, Hassan Bello, noted that Section 6 (1) (b), (c), and (h) of the draft NTC Bill 2015, and Section 3 of the NSC Act, Cap N133, LFN 2004 had similarities of functions.

Last line
There is need for the Federal Government to engage competent workforce in the new commission in order to ensure best international standards and practice.

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