Nat’l Transport Authority Broke?

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NTA buses parked due to the lack of allotment in the GOL budget (photo: Simeon S. Wiakanty)

Buses out of service for past  three months

Over the past three months, the National Transit Authority (NTA) has not been able to function effectively from what is suspected to be a lack of money to run the state-owned enterprise. Following a week-long investigation conducted by the Daily Observer it was discovered that the NTA has, since three months ago, shut its doors to the public.

The communications director of the NTA has, however, refuted speculations that the corporation is broke.

Director Robert Wilson told the Daily Observer that the word “broke”, as it has been used by the public, is not real, noting that as a government institution they depend on government support to operate effectively and efficiently. Wilson, who earlier refuted these speculations, however, admitted that over the past three months the NTA has not received an allotment from the Government of Liberia due to what he called constraints faced by the government in collecting its revenue.

He further clarified that over the past five years President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has been very committed to the extension of public transport services across the country, and if, in his opinion, there are shortcomings, Liberians should understand and be patient.

“We are surely dependent on government subsidies and what we collect from the passengers at the minimum of 11 U.S. cents, which is the cheapest transportation rate in the world. We blend that to run the institution,” said Wilson.

He also stated that it is important for the public to understand that the suspension of services is not due to any fault of their own but to external factors beyond the NTA’s control.

“Our buses for the past two to three weeks now have been down because we don’t have allotment that can take us out in terms of fueling our buses to move,” he stated. He also pleaded with the public to be patient as the government understands that the public is being inconvenienced by the suspension of services.

Wilson, however, told journalists that the NTA is working very hard with its collaborating partners in order to shortly reopen its services to the public. He re-emphasized that the NTA has been in touch with the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning on this matter, but added that the ministry has been unresponsive.

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1 COMMENT

  1. Any wonder why the NTA is broke? Their spokesman says “as a government institution they depend on government support to operate effectively and efficiently.” So the NTA is not a profit-making corporation, not a business, but a charitable organization that depends entirely on the Treasury for its very survival. Two alternatives: NTA could be privatized asap through competitive bidding or the Act creating the NTA could be revisited and revised without delay to enable the entity operate as a regular business.

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