Law student calls for an end to protectionism

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An international law student is calling on the government to liberalise the transportation sector and to place less emphasis on protecting domestic operators.
J’moul Francis, a native of Antigua & Barbuda, is also advising that more attention should be paid to regulating the sector to ensure equal access.
He said protectionism – the policy of protecting domestic industries against foreign competition by means of tariffs, subsidies, import quotas, or other restrictions – has only been detrimental to the consumer.
Francis singled out the taxi-car hire industry as one example where he said consumers suffer through unreasonable fares, poor services and old-fashioned business operations.
“My call is to liberalise the sector completely, ensuring that everyone has equal access to the market, equal access to ply their trade in the market and that everyone is subjected to those regulations whether or not they are a part of an
association. I think it is time for government to take back the reigns of protectionism from these associations,” Francis said.
Francis added that the current laws of the land puts a protective wall around the taxi drivers therefore people with new business models in the form of Uber, cannot operate in the environment.
Uber Technologies Inc, (Uber) is an online transportation network that links private, entrepreneurial drivers with prospective passengers.
Uber accomplishes this through its smartphone app where prospective passengers contract drivers to transport them to their intended destination.
The service differs from other taxi or private hire firms in that it simply puts together drivers and customers based on their location and requirements. Fares are set by the user’s smartphone tracking their start and finish location, and the time the journey takes.
(More in today’s Daily Observer)

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