Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, said the transportation sector was key to realising the major objectives of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
The minister, who spoke at the international conference on the Role of Transportation in the implementation of AfCFTA, organised by National Institute of Transport Technology (NITT) on Monday in Abuja, said transportation is essential for economic and social development as it provides vital links between centers of production and markets.
Represented by the minister of state, Transportation, Gbemisola Saraki, the minister said the sector was critical in implementing trade facilitation, enhancing regional integration and key to every other AfCFTA protocol.
Amaechi, while reiterating the commitment of President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration towards providing efficient transport system in the country, said the government was embarking on huge transport infrastructure investment across the country.
The minister, however, said the greatest challenge facing infrastructural development in Africa was maintenance of the infrastructure for sustainable service delivery.
According to him, “The transportation Sector is blessed with myriad of potentials and opportunities for development.
”The current administration will not leave any stone unturned in its efforts to transform the Sector for the benefits of Nigerian Citizens.”
For his part, the NITT council chairman, Olorogun John, reiterated the need for connectivity between trade and transportation.
Also, the director-general, NITT, Dr Bayero Salih-Farah, said transportation was the gateway to economic growth and prosperity and every other sector depends on transportation for growth and progress and it is heartwarming that the current administration under the able leadership of President Buhari has realised the critical role of transportation, and was working assiduously to make the Nigerian transport system among the best in Africa.
According to him, “Transport infrastructure is widely seen as an enabling industry that facilitates national, regional and international integration and trade.
”An effective transport system promotes competitiveness, market accessibility and economic growth. It is high time Nigeria started taking advantage of being the largest economy in Africa.
”It is argued that intra-African trade stands at about 15 per cent, an abysmal fact attributable to unnecessary bottlenecks and infrastructure deficit.
”Therefore, there is urgent need for massive investment in connectivity and transportation infrastructure, because transportation is the link between all the factors of production.”