‘Nigeria Requires N3trn to Bridge Transport Infrastructure Deficit’

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Hassan Bello

By Eromosele Abiodun

The Executive Secretary /CEO of Nigerian Shippers ‘Council (NSC), Hassan Bello has stated that Nigeria requires as much as N3 trillion to address the infrastructural deficit in the transport sector of the nation’s economy.

He stated this while speaking at a Transport Leadership lecture organised by Kings Communications on the next Level Leadership held in Lagos.

Bello said such infrastructural issue cannot be insurmountable but should be seen as opportunities which investors can leverage on to create wealth and jobs in the national economy.

He added that Nigeria can surmount the challenges in the transport sector through collaboration between the public and private sector.
He said the country needs to invest at least N10 billion per annum in the next 30 years to be able to tackle infrastructure deficit.

According to him, “We have a lot of challenges but they are not insurmountable because when I look at the deficit in infrastructure as it is said, we need N3 trillion to make up for our deficit, meaning that we need to spend about N100 billion every year till the next 30 years. We should not be down cast by the challenges but be rejuvenated by the opportunities presented by the infrastructure deficit.”

He stated that the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), which President Muhammadu Buhari signed recently, was a wonderful development which could be one way that the transport industry and the ports sector can grow.

“The AfCFTA could be the spur that we need because we are talking about the N2 trillion economy and 1.2 billion population as well 54 countries. We need to have imperial output to these negotiations, ”he said.

Nigeria, he added, is currently doing well as far as trade is concerned with cargos coming from the competitors.

He said he was optimistic that by the time the issue of infrastructures in Apapa environment was fixed, there would even be more improvement.

“We believe that by the time the infrastructure problems around Apapa are mitigated, we will see a resemblance of order but we are already having short, medium and long term solutions. Though, there are challenges but we are sure that they will be dealt with. And by August, the Council will sign the $500 million Ibadan Dry Port facility. We are seeing efficiency in our ports but we need to reform our trucking and cargo clearing system,” he said.

Maritime sector stakeholders who attended the event expressed concern over lack of adequate attention to the maritime sector by the federal government.

Former Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Mr Temisan Omatseye, who was the Chairman of the occasion, said the stakeholders will be ready for the next Minister of Transport and tell him the truth.

Similarly, another former DG, NIMASA, Mrs. Ufom Usoro, called on government agencies in the transport sector to collaborate and set target for a better transport system

Usoro also called for an integrated transportation policy, adding that this will lead to an efficient transport system.

Organiser of the event and the Managing Director of Kings Communications, Mr Kingsley Anaroke in his welcome address said the advocacy for the appointment of professionals to head the ministries and agencies by stakeholders was gradually shifting from professionalism to performance and leadership assessment.

Anaroke said: “It the quest to maximize the huge potentials in the sector through the right leadership or performance based leadership capable of positioning the sector to take its critical place in the Next Level agenda of the current regime and the emerging new technology-driven transportation world that gave birth to the MMS Transport Agencies’ Performance Rating with its reward system, Award for sterling performance to spur others to action, while the lecture arm of it, the Transport Leadership Lecture is to help crystallize the philosophy of good governance.”