The Senator representing Lagos East Senatorial District has described Lagos State as a pacesetter in the area of transport sector policy and infrastructural reforms. The senator made this assertion while delivering the keynote address of the 2nd Lagos Traffic Radio Annual Lecture Series, themed Advancing Urban Transportation and Mobility. The event took place at the Eko FM Multi Purpose Hall, Ikeja, Lagos on 22nd June, 2016.
The Senator who was represented at the event by Professor David Olatunji, delivered a paper titled Enabling Law as a Catalyst for a Vibrant Transport Sector – The Nigerian Experience.
At the commencement of his paper, Senator Ashafa stated in reference to the approach of the Lagos State to creating a vibrant transport sector that; “we must turn to Lagos at every first juncture because of the leadership role that Lagos has taken in addressing this gap through legislation, policy, agency creation and positioning and a well-articulated direction between the Government and the people of our dear state. There is therefore indeed a lot to learn from the Lagos example as we revamp legislation at the center.”
The Senator identified archaic and uncompetitive legislation as the focal challenge of the Nigerian Transport Landscape. He stated that he arrived at this conclusion upon assuming the position of Chairman, Senate Committee on Land Transport in 2015 and that the Senate under the Leadership of Senator Abubakar Bukola Saraki was focused on reengineering every legislation affecting the Sector.
Speaking further, Ashafa stated that upon identifying this challenge, the National Assembly through its leadership and the instrumentality of the National Assembly Business Environment Roundtable, identified economic priority bills 6 of which affected the Transport Sector directly.
Picking the legislative reforms of the Land Transport Sector, Ashafa Identified the passage of the Nigerian Railway Authority Bill as a significant milestone in opening up the sector to private participation and a potential tool in generating millions of jobs and foreign direct investments for Nigeria.
While talking about the National Transport Commission Bill, Ashafa stated that the Bill when passed would create a multi-modal transport sector regulator which would regulate the economic framework for the provision of transport services and facilities; facilitate effective competition, promote competitive market, conduct and ensure that the misuse of monopoly or non-transitory market power is prevented in the provision of transport services, promote private sector participation in the provision of transport services.
As he concluded, the Senator stated that government must mnmise its role as an operator in the transport sector. He stated that the approach of legislation should be one in which the role of Government should be principally that of a regulator in order to ensure that there is a level playing field for all those who are interested in investing in the transport sector.
On a final note, he thanked His Excellency, the Governor of Lagos State, MR. Akinwunmi Ambode for creating the enabling environment for the event and remaining a reference point for transport infrastructural development in Nigeria.