The Federal Government has approved a ₦10 billion survival fund for
transport workers and operators, the Minister of State for
Transportation, Sen. Gbemisola Saraki, has disclosed.
Saraki, who made this known when the President, Public Transport
Owners of Nigeria Association (PTONA), Engr. Isaac Uhunwagho, led the
association’s National Executive Committee and Trustees to pay her a
courtesy call in Abuja, said the funds which will help cushion the
sufferings encountered by road transport workers and operators as a
result of COVID-19 pandemic.
The Minister also stated that the fund is domiciled with the Federal
Ministry of Trade, Industry and Investment, adding that the Federal
Ministry of Transportation is currently working on the modalities for
According to the director of press of the ministry, Erik Ojiekwe,
while appreciating the fact that 90 percent of Nigerians travel by
road, Sen. Saraki stated that the federal government will soon
initiate a master plan that will reform the sector and solicited the
buy-in of all stakeholders.
Reacting to challenges operators face from state governments and other
stakeholders, the minister gave the assurance that she will discuss
the issues through the National Transport Commissioners Forum.
Also, the Minister disclosed that she is in talks with the Federal
Ministry of Works and Housing on the concessioning of some routes
which she thinks is the best way to go so as to increase government
She further, enjoined them to avoid duplicity and formalize their
structures in an organized manner for better engagements, with the
ministry and other relevant agencies.
Earlier, Uhunwagho, who led the delegation on the visit to the
Minister, stated that their visit is in respect to the challenges
being faced by the body and also to appreciate her efforts towards the
challenges PTONA has being facing since February, 2020 and the
cooperation and protection which the ministry is now ready to provide
for public transportation in Nigeria.
The President said that with this, “our future in the ‘one chance’
business is now encouraging.”
Also, Engr. Isaac pleaded for COVID-19 financial palliatives for her
members to prevent their businesses from folding up.
The PTONA president, while clarifying on the need for this, disclosed
that PTONA members felt the impact of the lockdown the most as their
branded buses could not operate due to the ban on interstate travel.
The general motor parks he said, did not comply with the ban as their
parks became a safe haven for flouting the ban and as a result enjoyed
black market transportation boom.
He further lamented that despite PTONA members being the major
investors in the transportation sector, it is ironical that their
companies are the prime target for state and local government
authorities who impose taxes, levies and other ridiculous conditions
on their members while according to him, they leave the filthy general
motor parks and target us.