Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Revamping Transportation Sector For Improved Contribution To National Economy -Rotimi Amaechi

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The Minister of Transport, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, has said 1.41 per cent aggregate contribution of the sector to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is unacceptable.

He admitted however that the maritime sector’s contribution could be appreciable but its potential had been largely untapped.

Transportation sector, the minister stated, plays such a paramount role in the country’s development that there is an urgent need to exploit the opportunities that abound within the sector to improve its contribution to the national economy.

He said: “Countries like South Korea and Singapore have built their economies around a vibrant transportation sector. Although Nigeria is blessed with multiple modes of transportation that is the envy of many, these potential have largely remained untapped.

“Our air transport and railways sub-sectors hold the key to unlocking the vast potential in our cities and rural areas. The President Muhammadu Buhari administration is determined to fully exploit the potentials in the transportation sector.”

In a statement signed by the Deputy Director, Public Affairs of the ministry, Mrs. Yetunde Oshonaike, while quoting the minister, said: “The government of President Buhari is in the process of developing a national transportation master-plan that will be implemented as a fulfillment one of his campaign promises to diversify the national economy while improving non-oil sector revenues.

“As a first step, the government will pursue the enactment of legislation that will open up the sector to new investments that will lead to economic prosperity.

“Among the bills that is ready for legislative action is the National Transport Commission Bill - an act to provide for the establishment of a National Transport Commission as an independent multi-modal economic regulator and other related matters. He said the bill among others have been approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) in March 2014.”

Beside the country’s huge population putting enormous pressure on a very poor transport infrastructure that has bedeviled the nation, he added that the railway sub-sector had suffered significant neglect in the past, though it was the most effective and cheapest mode of mass transportation for both passengers and freight.

He said: “The problems of Nigerian transport system include bad roads, inadequate fleet of buses and trucks; irregular and inadequate trains and airplanes services; and congested ports.

“In line with these are physical problems such as the dearth of suitably trained transport managers and planners, capital restructuring bottlenecks, serious issues of institutional reforms and ineffective traffic regulation.”

The current state of the railway, Amaechi added, is an indication of the serious neglect of this important sub-sector occasioned by poor policy initiation and implementation.

“This has led to the proliferation of privately owned and operated road haulage services resulting in unregulated and chaotic situation on the nation’s roads. Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC) has been effectively reduced to an economically unviable venture dependent on government subvention without any return on the huge investments,” he said.

According to him, government would implement policies that encourage private sector participation and investments towards diversification and growth of the nation’s economy. Government, he added, would streamline all the agencies in the maritime sector for more effective and efficient performance to meet the expectations of all stakeholders, including the clearance of good at the reports within 48 hours.

Culled from ThisDayLive

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