The Federal Government has said the N15 billion invested in its mass transit project was utterly inadequate even as it said it was turning to banks and other financial institutions in the country to provide funds.
The Director General, National Automotive Council Aminu Jalalrevealed this during a workshop for developing a framework, road map and financial options for national mass transit in Nigeria, noting that required amount was much more than N15b.
According to him, “when the president launched the programme in January, N15billion was earmarked but if you look at the mass transit needs of the nation, we need much more money, that is why during this workshop we have a forum where we will discuss with banks on financing mass transit. The records we have showed that private sector financing of mass transit programme might be viable”.
Jalal then hinted that local bus manufacturers have the capacity to produce required buses for the mass transport programme if demands are increased even as he said that “We have about eight bus manufacturers now with installed capacity of 50, 000 per year but they are doing about 2,000 buses in a year because of lack of demand. If there is a demand they can scale up their production and several shifts,“he explained.
The Minister of Trade and Investment, OlusegunAgangawho also spoke at the workshop said the launch of 1,240 buses by President Goodluck Jonathan was the flag-off of national mass transit programme rather than bus mass transit programme.
Aganga pointed out thatmass transit in Nigeria has remained unsatisfactory and limited in both quality and scope with inefficient operations and poor service delivery even as he adding that the new programme would give priority to those that are manufacturing buses locally because “we want an industrialized sector; we want to be a country that produces finish goods and not one that imports everything”. He said