The Federal Ministry of Transportation recently organised its second annual “Road Stakeholders Workshop” on strategies to increase the contribution of road transportation to the economy and chat a way forward for the transport sector. EJIKE EJIKE repo rts the conversations.
Federal Ministry of Transportation recently held a two day workshop, with the theme “Role of Road Transportation in the Achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals and Nigeria’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan;” in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State Capital.
Addressing participants during the opening ceremony, The minister of Transportation, Chibuike Amaechi in his remark said the objectives of the workshop was to explore more opportunities to effectively engage the public, private sector, and all relevant stakeholders in the development of the much needed sophisticated transportation infrastructure, and the enabling environment that will make road transportation contribute meaningfully to the nation’s economy.
Amaechi stated that the first workshop was organized in 2016 with the theme “Regulation of Road Transport and Mass Transit Operations and Management in Nigeria” with the focus to review the contents and operational modalities of road transport management and mass transit in Nigeria, identify the gaps in management and mass transit in Nigeria; appraise the roles, responsibilities and duties of road transport institutions at local, states and federal levels.
Reviewing the resolutions reached at the 2016 road stakeholders workshop, Amaechi disclosed that it had led to the actualization of several policy milestones such as; the development of a National Road Transport Operators’ Manual as a guide to achieving safety, security and regulation in commercial motor vehicle operations in the country, provision of platform for private sector to showcase their innovations to critical stakeholders in order to achieve a buy-in and deliver on lntelligent Transport System (ITS) applications in service delivery, engendering efforts towards the implementation of the Inter-State-Road Transit (ISRT) Scheme approved by ECOWAS as a guarantee process for goods transiting littoral to land-locked countries of the sub-region.
According to the minister, “the ministry is mindful of the need to develop two major areas in national road transport and transit management.” These are the trans-border corridor operations and mass transport delivery which would on the long run lead to ease of doing business in Nigeria with border countries and encourage sustainable mass transit system.
The minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola represented by Dr Famous Eseduwo, director Planning, Research and Statistics in the ministry stated that the theme of this year stakeholders workshop was apt as road transport is the bedrock for the movement of goods and services in Nigeria being that the development goals of any government is based on how effective it can move goods and services from industrial areas to the end users, either in urban or rural settings.
Fashola disclosed that the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing has prioritized its road development programme so that roads leading to centers with high economic value, ports, agriculture and mineral producing areas are given high priority in the allocation of funds in its yearly appropriation.
Former governor of Akwa Ibom State, Obong Victor Attah, in his presentation, said corrupt ministers, governors, National Assembly members turn constituency projects, village roads to federal roads, thereby creating problem of management and maintenance of these roads.
Attah said “Roads that were designated as federal roads through the corrupt influence of minister, governors and their friends most especially members of the National Assembly, village roads that were built as constituency projects became federal roads, governors with influence at the center also added to this chaos.
“The diverstating consequences of this are that the total length of federal roads is so overwhelming that they are impossible to maintain. The roads were not built to adequate specification and they therefore fall into disrepair after two or three rainy season.”
While offering solutions to the problem, the former governor noted that the “answer lies in the rationalization . This presentation visualizes a rationalization whereby only major interstate roads would be designated as federal roads. These roads would be built to the standard of motorways in Britain, autobahns in freeways in America.
“The alignment of these roads would be such as to guarantee that all the 36 states of the federation, as well as the Federal Capital Territory, are transversed by, or at least one or more of these roads terminating in them.”
He also noted that “an efficient road network provides the major arteries through which the commercial life blood of a country flows. Unfortunately what we have today in Nigeria is a very irrational network that was determined more by patronage and selfish considerations than by logic.
“The total length of federal roads is so ovemhelming that they are impossible to maintain. The roads were not built to an adequate specification and they therefore fall into disrepair after two or three rainy seasons.”
While speaking on the topic, “Road Transport and Mass Transit Operations in Nigeria: The Journey so Far,” the director, Road Road Transport and Mass Transit Administration in the Ministry of Transport, Anthonia Ekpa said “The road transport sub -sector that we have today is rejuvenated , revamped and re-engineered to take its place as the pivot of the intermodal structure of the Nigerian transportation sector .
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