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  • Imperative of a transportation policy
  • ON resumption in office, the Minister of
    Transport, Mr. Rotimi Chibuke Amaechi pledged
    to reform the transport system in Nigeria. His
    immediate predecessor, Senator Idris Umar gave
    such a pledge years ago.
    Every transport Minister in Nigeria, including Mr.
    H.O. Omenai, Lt. Col. Musa Yar ‘adua, Jaja
    Wachukwu, Lt. Col. Mohammed Magoro, Captain
    Olufemi Olumide, Dr. (Mrs.) Kemafo Chikwe,
    Alhaji Umaru Dikko, Ibrahim Bio, R.A.B. Dikko,
    Ojo Madueke, Precious Sekibo, Brig.-Gen.
    Jeremiah Useni, Oluwole Adeosun and others
    have made such pledges. But so far little has
    been achieved in that sector. I want to believe
    Amaechi will make a difference.
    Transportation is a major key to development,
    be it railways, air or sea. As Dr. Emeka
    Okengwu, a development Economist, said in his
    paper” the existing transportation infrastructure
    in Nigeria comprising roads, railways, ports,
    airports and pipelines is inadequate in terms of
    accessibility and inter-operability. This poor
    performance has been largely occasioned by the
    fragmented operational and institutional
    framework for the inter-modal coordination of
    the country’s transport modes, hence the need
    to integrate and coordinate the activities and
    responsibilities of the different transport modes
    in the country so as to harness the various
    potentials contained therein”.
    The National Conference sat in Abuja in 2014 for
    about three months. The Conference was
    headed by Justice Idris Legbo Kutigi (76), a
    retired Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of
    Nigeria. Some of the Conference’s
    recommendations today are either ignored or
    buried. Before it concluded sitting, the
    conference divided itself into various
    committees. The one that caught my attention
    was the committee on transportation. It was
    headed by Senator Musa Adede, who
    represented Cross Rivers North in 1999 in the
    Senate. Senator Adede was the Chairman of
    Senate Committee on Transportation in 1999
    and 2003. He is a transportation expert.
    Other members of the committee were Yusuf
    Hamisu Abubakar, Barr. Promise Adebunmi
    Kanayo Adewusi, Barr. Chris Agbonwanegbe,
    Brenda Akpan, Hon. (Chief) Obi Anoliefo, Mallam
    Hamman Bello Barkindo, Dr. Abdu Bulama, Barr.
    J. I. Ebinum, Mrs. Patience Hadiza Ibrahim,
    Alhaji Musa Shehu Isiwele, Chief (Mrs) Hannatu
    Lohor, Dr. Clement Mgbada , Asabe Baba
    Nahaya, Ezenwa Nwagwu, Clifford Obur, Oyinkan
    Olasanoye, Michael Olukoya, AIG Ralph Ola
    Osanaiye(Rtd), Mrs. Felicia Sanni , Hon. Sheik
    Mudathir Sekoni , Millicent Okonkwo Ugoeze
    while Dr. Emeka Okengwu served as the
    Consultant to the committee.
    The Committee made recommendations on the
    need for improvement of the Aviation sector, Rail
    Transportation, Seaports, in-land waterways/
    Shipping, Roads, Pipelines, Transport Services
    Support Sector in Mines and Steel.
    The Musa Adede Committee implored that
    government should review the existing
    Transportation master plan for each sector
    based on economic analysis, to determine the
    economic rate of return on each transportation
    project looking at the economic impact and
    financial implication of such projects. In addition,
    the committee suggested that the plan should
    prioritise projects based on economic analysis
    and budget constraints so as to determine the
    diverse range of benefits including accessibility
    and social benefits, Economic and growth
    benefits, Decongestion benefits, Environmental
    benefits, Health and Social benefits,
    Infrastructure maintenance benefits, Operation
    and maintenance benefits.
    When Amaechi told the nation in 2015 that he
    would reform the transport system, I suggest he
    should take a look at the comprehensive
    seventy-eight page report of the Musa Adede
    committee. To me that report is a major guide
    in solving our transportation problems. The
    most central challenge identified by the
    committee is the absence of an integrated
    approach to transportation development and
    management in Nigeria.
    The absence of a central authority to oversight
    the implementation of the various National
    Transportation Master Plan and the heavy
    dependence on budgetary provision for transport
    development had led to inadequate funding
    regimes and distortions in most transport
    projects. The privatisation of projects such as
    the ports concessioning has not also removed
    the financial burden from government as public
    funds are still applied to the expansion and
    maintenance of the facilities, leaving the
    concessionaires to collect revenue.
    The committee suggested among other things
    that :
    1. The existing National Transport Council
    should be expanded from the current Federal
    Ministry of Transport and State Commissioners
    of Transport to include the Federal Ministries of
    Works and Aviation and the State
    Commissioners of Works as well as experts in
    the transport sector and representatives of all
    core stakeholders therein. It shall be responsible
    for the formulation of policies governing the
    sector throughout Nigeria and covering all tiers
    of government. The Council should also set and
    maintain standard practices and ensure the
    coordination of transport development in
    Nigeria. It should meet quarterly; and any other
    time as the need arises. The Council is
    answerable to the President.
    2. Government efforts towards the establishment
    of a Commission should be accelerated.
    3. The Commission should have the mandate to
    formulate an intermodal national transportation
    infrastructure development policy that would
    identify and initiate the development of key
    mineral and agricultural products that can yield
    load value on the return of investments and the
    inclusion of local financing institutions such as
    AMCOM, BOI,NEXIM,SURE-P Natural Resources
    Development Fund NRDF, Sovereign Wealth Fund
    SWF, and local finance institutions and investors
    so as to promote inclusive growth, guarantee
    retention of foreign direct investment and avoid
    outright sale of national assets through non
    inclusive concessioning programmes.
    4. Deployment of an integrated transport
    infrastructure development programme that
    would intricately tie a fixed and appreciable
    percentage of steel and allied materials for use
    in rail transportation lines roads and housing
    construction, air ports remodeling and boat and
    ship building to the Ajaokuta, Aladja, Oshogbo,
    Katsina and Jos steel plants and rolling mills.
    5.Review of the existing transportation
    legislation by ensuring all States and private
    sector participation provided that such
    participation is in line with the policies of the
    National Transportation Commission. This will
    allow the development of a national
    transportation infrastructure to be inclusive of
    rights of State governments to build intra-state
    transportation infrastructure, while private sector
    investors shall be allowed to build and operate
    certain categories of transportation infrastructure
    linking the mines, beneficiation plants and
    integrated agricultural projects.
    6. Encouragement of Public-Private Partnerships
    or Joint Ventures in the provision of
    transportation services.
    7. Development of all the ports and making
    them functional through deliberate policy for
    maximum utilisation by using attractive
    incentives and providing an enabling
    environment to discourage importers from
    diverting their imports to neighbouring
    countries.
    8. The Ministry of Petroleum Resources and its
    relevant departments and agencies should
    develop a policy that gives indigenous shipping
    lines the right of first refusal to transport
    Nigerian crude.
    9. Expansion of the rail network to commercial
    nerve centres and all major ports in the country
    as well as exploring the possibility of extending
    railways to all State capitals.
    10. Nigeria should embrace modern equipment
    technology inclusive of fast trains and standard
    gauge rail tracks for the expansion of its
    operations.
    11. Encouragement of the federal and other tiers
    of government and the development partners to
    broaden the scope of Rural Access and Mobility
    Project RAMP, to include rural roads in all states
    of the federation.
    In our quest for National Development, the need
    for a vibrant transportation system can no
    longer be ignored.

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