The House of Representatives has urged the Ministry of Transport to put modalities in place to monitor the activities of transport operators, with a view to curtailing arbitrary hike in transport fares during the Yuletide.
This followed a unanimous adoption of a motion by Rep. Chinedu Emeka (PDP-Imo) at the plenary on Monday.
The lawmaker, while moving the motion, said that the modalities must go with stipulated sanctions on erring operators, so as to serve as a deterrent to others.
Emeka said that arbitrary hike in transport fares during festive seasons had somewhat become a tradition in the country.
He said that the increment in fares was painfully hitting land transportation, thereby, compounding the hardship facing commuters across the board, as the Yuletide drew near.
“The development is becoming a national pandemic, where commuters are decrying that the arbitrary hike in fares which, in some cases, had reached almost 100 per cent, barely a week to Christmas.
“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.
“Such arbitrary increase, sometimes has nothing to do with the economic indices or the reality on the ground, but a by-product of the greedy discretion of the park managers who decide the prices depending on turnout of the day,” he said.
The lawmaker said that the hike was nothing short of gross insensitivity, occasioning economic sabotage.
He said that the trend was not only becoming too dangerous to ignore, but it was also causing a total setback on the country’s recuperating economy.
He noted that factors like the unusual fuel scarcity, which formerly triggered hike in transport fares, had been taken care of by the government.
“This government had done this through the recent deregulation of the downstream sector of the oil and gas industry.
“The spontaneous increase in transport fares during the Yuletide is becoming too traditional, thereby questioning the place of government in such obviously inconsiderate moves that have brought into focus the worst sides of humanity.
“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 it is also a public service which is partly to regulate its application by the operators in a way that would be favourable to the entire citizenry,” he said.
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila, later mandated the House Committee on Transport to interface with relevant agencies in ensuring that such seasonal, arbitrary increase in transport fare.