The House of Representatives has decried the arbitrary increase in transport fare by transport operators in the country during festive periods and asked the Ministry of Transport, to as a matter of urgency put modalities in place to curtail such practice.
Adopting a motion of urgent Public importance sponsored by Hon. Chinedu Martin Emeka (PDP, Imo), the House said operators engaged in obnoxious increase in transport fare should be sanctioned by the government.
The Lawmaker said arbitrary hike in transport fare across the Country, is becoming a tradition, with the most recent, where the obnoxious increment is painfully hitting the Land Transportation, thereby, compounding the hardship situation across the board, as the Yuletide draws near.
He said this habit of increasing fare by transporters is gradually becoming a national pandemic, where Commuters are decrying that the arbitrary hike in fares in some cases had reached almost 100 per cent, barely a week to the Christmas and more as the days go by, a situation that is also viewed to be worsening the economic situation in the Country.
According to him, the Yuletide is associated with lots of travelling, as the longest holiday season, which triggers a proportionate movement of people from one destination to the other, hence the understanding of the economic implications that snowballs to a marginal increase in fares due to forces of demand on the existing supply chain.
He explained that such obnoxiously arbitrary increase, sometimes had nothing to do with the economic indices or the reality on ground, but a by-product of the greedy discretion of the Park managers who decide the prices depending on turnout of the day which is nothing short of gross insensitivity, occasioning economic sabotage.
He stressed that the trend is not only becoming too dangerously to ignore, but a total set back on the Country’s recuperating economy, especially when factors like the demons of unsual fuel scarcity that formally triggers hike in fares had been taken care of by the Government through the recent deregulation of the downstream sector of the Oil and Gas industry.
He emphasised that the unabating increase in fares during the Yuletide is becoming too traditional, thereby questioning the place of Government in such obviously inconsiderate moves, that has brought into focus the worst sides of humanity that does not care about the effect of an arbitrariness that often leave many of the citizenry in untold hardship with the corresponding hunger or starvation, and in some cases, stranded.
He said further that well-meaning Nigerians are already viewing the situation as a gross exhibition of greed and monumental corruption on the part of the transporters who capitalize on the rush and harsh realities, to exploit and rip the people off their hard earned money that invariably put a question mark on the Country’s drive for Fight Against Corruption.
He said that some factors responsible for the ugly development are: insufficient/Inadequate attention to relevant sectors by relevant Government agencies, poor supervision as a result of lack of concern about the plight of the people across the board, insatiable crave for money at the detriment of others and so on.
He argued that the mission of the Federal Ministry of Transport is not only to perform the state management of Road, Rail, Inland Waterways, Sea and Air Transport, nationwide, but of the public service according to law, which is partly to regulate its application by the operators as it would be favorable to the entire citizenry.
He expressed the belief that it is the duty of Government to be alert to its responsibilities of monitoring such important sectors with the view to slap fines on any act of irresponsibility in the form of extortion or sabotage, or at best, embark on implementation of policies that may be aimed at breaking the chain of monopolistic tendencies of some of the greedy operators, as the Government cannot afford to continue to watch from the sideline.
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