By Roland Ohaeri
Moving The Economy
For Nigeria’s wavering economy, a more effective transportation system would catalyse recovery and engender accelerated development. Moreso, a synergized multi-modal transportation system involving air, road, rail, waterways and pipeline would quicken economic integration by enhancing flow of economic activities nationwide. This is why drastic actions need be taken to revive Nigeria’s transportation system and establish effective regulation across all modes of transportation in the country.
In addition, urgent action is required now to minimize the huge economic losses that have continued over the years due to the disrepair and disconnection among the five modes of transportation across the country. Effective transportation system would also enable Nigeria play a leading role in regional economy in Africa now that the continent is evolving into a free trade economic bloc with over 1.3 billion population and a combined gross domestic product (GDP) of over 3 trillion USD.
Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, Vice President of Nigeria, emphasized the critical need to leverage on transportation to drive Nigeria’s economic development. He said the Nigerian government places much importance on institutions established to improve standards in all sectors of the economy, including the Chartered Institute of Transport Administration of Nigeria (CIOTA), which is charged with the responsibility of driving improvements in the training and operational standards in the transportation sector in Nigeria. Importantly also, Prof. Osinbajo said government will rely on CIOTA for guidance on transportation policy and implementation.
“You have a role to produce transport professionals who will drive the economy from the point of view of transport and logistics. Therefore government would look up to your Institute for guidance in policy formulation and implementation,” he emphasized to CIOTA.
Prof. Osinbajo, who spoke through the Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi, at the recent 3rd National Transportation Summit of CIOTA at the Shehu Yar’Adua Centre, Abuja, said: “Nigeria can be truly great if every institution plays its part well. The objectives of the Chartered Institute of Transport Administration of Nigeria are well stated in its enabling Act. These include setting standards of practice and determining the knowledge and skills to be attained by persons seeking to practice as transportants.”
He noted also that government is making efforts to improve transportation to drive Nigeria’s economy and the country’s role in regional economy.
He stated: “Nigeria’s location gives her advantage to play as transportation hub for the West and Central African countries. And the investment that government is making in the areas of road, rail, air and maritime transport sub-sectors is aimed at achieving this potential transport hub status. With the recent election of Nigeria as the Secretary General of the Maritime Organization of West and Central Africa (MOWCA), Nigeria has opportunity to utilize the investments we are making in the transport sector as building blocks to attain hub status, and play big especially as Africa regional trade expands with the coming of Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) initiative with a market size of over 1.2 billion people and an estimated combined GDP of over 3 Trillion US Dollars.”
He described the role of CIOTA in the transportation sector as enormous and a lead role, while he urged CIOTA to good quality training of transport professionals making the most technology in line with global supply chain which has gone digital and now thrives on ever-evolving technology and innovations. The Institute has the statutory mandate of training and certifying Transport Professionals.
“In all of these, government will play its part by providing the enabling environment, while the private sector should play its part by mobilizing the necessary funds and personnel. Government is already doing its part, with the Companies & Allied Matters Act (CAMA) 2020, The Finance Act 2020, PEBEC and several other initiatives in place,” he stated.
The President of CIOTA and also the Director General of NIMASA, Dr. Bashir Jamoh, emphasized that CIOTA would strive to change transportation standards in Nigeria. He said efforts are ongoing on Nigeria’s Deep Blue Project to ensure Nigeria benefits from the maritime sector, noting also that security has improved in the maritime sector. He said it is important to review whether the nation needs national carriers in air and maritime transport. He said CIOTA needs increased resources to drive transportation improvement in Nigeria, and will strengthen its advocacy to drive implementation of policies, regulation and global standards in all modes of transportation.
Transportation experts who sought ways to improve Nigeria’s transportation system, believe that reforms are needed in the Nigerian transportation sector. Particularly, Prof. Innocent Ogwude, Chairman, Council for the Registration of Transportants, emphasized that technical regulation must be separated from economic regulation for optimized and effective regulation of the modes of transportation in Nigeria, noting that Nigeria does not have enough institutions to regulate transportation. While leading transportation experts agree to this submission, Prof. Callistus Ibe, Chairman, Education and Training Committee of CIOTA, further said that effective regulation drives investment and competition.
Transportation experts at the 3rd national Transportation Summit also said that effective regulation would ensure the establishment of special trade licence to ensure acceptable standards of service among transport support service providers such as mechanics and others. According to the experts, only few States including Anambra and Abuja, are making efforts to institute trade license in their jurisdictions.
The Summit also emphasized the need to realign the roles of especially road transportation unions as stakeholders in order to discontinue their dangerously powerful and unhealthy control of the road transport sector.
Proper standards and regulation have become essential for Nigeria not to lose out in the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) launched by the African Union early 2021.
Pipeline Not Only For Oil & Gas
Engr. Bala Zakka, Technical Director, Drill Bits at Template Design Limited, advocated the expanded use of pipeline to transport water to homes and irrigation, as well as other liquids like fertilizer, and sewage from homes. Pipeline, he said, can engender greater economic activities and revenue if utilized beyond oil and gas transportation.
CIOTA, he said, has a duty to advocate government action in pipeline manufacturing and increased use of pipeline for non-oil transportation within Nigeria and for regional economies, learning from successes in Libya, UAE and Saudi Arabia, etc. Pipelines can help recover the disappearing Lake Chad, manage desertification and create increased and sustainable vegetation for herds of cattle thereby avoiding conflicts with farmers.
Security & Last Mile Transport
Transportation experts also emphasize the importance of safety and security for last mile transportation, in the chain of multimodal transportation especially on roads and waterways. Travellers and goods arriving at the airports and train stations need be transported safely and securely to their homes and final destinations.
To facilitate robust investment in transportation development in Nigeria, Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) as well as available data are also essential develop waterways, road, air, pipeline and rail transport especially to facilitate cargo transportation.
The Managing Director of Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), Capt. Fola Akinkuotu, emphasized the need for the various modes of transportation to work together to enhance economic developent.