Competition, Transport Sector Bills Will Generate N58trn – NESG

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By MARK ITSIBOR, Abuja

Nigeria will be able to generate at least N58.341 trillion within five years alone if the Competition/Consumer Protection Bill and Transport Sector Reform Bills before President Muhammadu Buhari and the National Assembly are harmonised and passed into law, the Nigerian Economic Summit (NES) has said.

Addressing a media briefing to mark the end of the 23rd Economic Summit yesterday in Abuja, organisers of the summit, led by its chairman, Kyari Bukar said it arrived at the figures after an economic impact assessment of both the competition and Transport sector Reform Bills awaiting harmonization and assent of the authorities.

Providing details to the research, the NES said if the long awaited Transport Sector Reform Bills scale through the both arms of the National Assembly, they are capable of unlocking private sector investment opportunities worth $160 billion or N57.6 trillion. The Summit said the transport sector would host about 56 per cent of the estimated investment from the passage of the bills.

“We did an economic impact assessment of the Transport sector Reform Bills. And we estimate that if those bills are passed into law, it will trigger private sector investment into the sector up to the tune of $160 billion out of which 56 per cent will be in the transport sector alone,” the board members of the national summit said yesterday.

The NSE research also revealed that passage of the bills will have multiplier effect of adding 3-5 per cent increase in jobs in the transport industry. “All we need to do is to sustain advocacy to get them harmonized and passed”, it clamoured.

Senate President Bukola Saraki had while inaugurating Senate joint technical committee on the transport sector reform bills in March this year, expressed confidence in the capability of the bills to modernize and expand the transport sector infrastructure.

The bills are: The Railway Bill – to reform the nation’s rail systems; the Port and Harbour Bill – for the efficient running of the ports; the National Transport Commission Bill, aimed to serve as the sector, economic regulator; the National Inland Waterway Bill, with a focus to develop the inland waterways transport system; the Federal Roads Fund Bill – to ensure the efficient maintenance of our federal road network and the Federal Roads Authority Bill; to manage our federal roads.

There is already subsequent NASSBER report suggesting that these bills alone can help add 87,000 new jobs annually for the next 5years, with an income growth average of 7 per cent.

On the competition bill, the NES said if passed into law, it can “create 318, 21 additional jobs over 5-years that will have a total income effect, estimated at an average of N148.3 billion yearly and N741 billion over a 5-year period.” It said the findings and recommendations are in the document that was presented to the ministry of budget and national planning.

The Senate had reportedly passed the Competition and Consumer Protection Bill, 2017 into law on 8 June. The President is yet to assent to it. The Bill seeks to among other things, manage pricing that will benefit both large and small scale businesses, establish a Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission and Tribunal for the development and promotion of fair, efficient and competitive markets, facilitate access to safe products by all citizens and protect the rights for all consumers in Nigeria.