The Federal Government hinted yesterday that arrangement was in top gear to create a situation where Mass Transit system being put in place would be wholly private sector driven, with minimal government participation.
Vice President Namadi Sambo who disclosed this at meeting of the Presidential Committee on Mass Transit at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, expressed worry over failed attempt in the past to entrench a mass transit culture in Nigeria.
He said, “For decades many attempts have been made to have a workable and sustainable mass transit system, but such efforts have always turned out unsuccessful. Now we want to come out with a system that is not only workable but sustainable, where the private sector will be the major driver.”
Sambo said there was need for a proper framework to be established for the workability of the Mass Transport System, noting that international best practices must be observed, adding that there was the need to separate policy, regulatory framework and implementation plans.
According to him, it was the desire of President Goodluck Jonathan to ensure that Nigerians are transported to their various destinations safely, cheaply and efficiently, through the major means of transportation.
He added that government was ready to support private operators and manufacturers to ensure the success of the System, through facilitation of access to cheap funding from financial institutions such as the African Development Bank, the Islamic Development Bank and the World Bank.
“We agree that there is the need, if we want to succeed in this Mass Transit system to encourage local assembly and local production,” he stated.
In his remarks, Anambra State Governor, Dr. Peter Obi noted that the states were ready to ensure that the System works, stressing the need to develop a regulatory framework to ensure its success. He also stressed the need to have mechanism in place that would facilitate the monitoring of intervention funds accessed by operators in the industry.
The meeting considered the framework, roadmap and financing options for the Mass Transit in Nigeria, aimed at instituting a Mass Transit culture in the country, through safe, cheap, efficient and timely transportation system, with particular reference to bus, rail and inland water ways.
Present at the meeting were the Deputy Governor of Niger State, Alhaji Ahmed Musa Ibeto, the Ministers of Transport, Federal Capital Territory, Labour and Productivity and Minister of State, Trade and Investment, and other stakeholders in the transportation industry.