Ben Agande, Abuja
The Federal Government has initiated four bills; the National Transport Commission Bill (2014); Nigeria Railway Bill (2014); Nigerian Ports and Harbour Authority Bill (2014); and National Inland Waterways Authority Bill (2014) as part of its plan to privatise the transport sector.
Minister of Information, Labaran Maku told state House correspondents after Wednesday’s Federal Executive Council meeting that the move is aimed at opening up the transport sector to the public for private participation
According to him, government was interested in removing the legal bottlenecks that hamper private sector participation in transport and provision of infrastructures
He explained that government cannot continue to fund all the sectors of the economy, saying that the proper thing to do was to lead the way by deepening reforms in the transport sector and other sector of the economy.
The minister said a Committee headed by the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Muhammed Adoke (SAN) has been set up to finalise the preparation of the Bills.
The committee, he said would also include officials from the the ministries of Works, Aviation, Transport and relevant stakeholders in the transport sector.
He stated that the passage of the bills would open up lots of opportunities for Nigerians to enjoy more and better road, rail, sea and air travel infrastructure.
The Minister explained that the idea is to get the private sector into construction, maintenance and ownership of seaports, harbours and airports across the country, with possible privatisation of existing facilities.
He stated that privatization would encourage competition productivity and efficiency in the transport sector.
For instance, well maintained private roads and terminals will be a big boost to easier public transportation while providing jobs for more Nigerians, he stated.
He assured that in the privatization process, the interest of Nigerians would be protected to avoid exploitation, saying that the citizens have a lot to gain in the area of job creation and business opportunities.