Kasim Sumaina in Abuja
The federal government yesterday disclosed that it has approved a N10 billion survival fund for transport workers and operators in the country.
The Minister of State for Transportation, Sen. Gbemisola Saraki, made the disclosure when the President of Public Transport Owners of Nigeria Association (PTONA), Isaac Uhunwagho, led the association National Executive Committee and Trustees to pay her a courtesy call in Abuja.
Saraki, in a statement made available to journalists in Abuja by the Director of Press of the ministry, Eric Ejiekwe, informed the delegation that the funds which would help cushion the sufferings encountered by road transport workers and operators as a result of COVID-19 pandemic, is domiciled with the Federal Ministry of Trade, Industry and Investment, adding that the Ministry of Transportation is currently working on the modalities for its disbursement.
While appreciating the fact that 90 of Nigerians travel by road, Saraki stated that the government would soon initiate a master plan that will reform the sector, therefore, 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 would discuss the issues through the National Transport Commissioners Forum.
Also, the minister disclosed that she was 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 that government revenue.
She further enjoined them to avoid duplicity as well as formalise their structures in an organised manner for
better engagements with the ministry and other relevant agencies.
While responding, the National President of Public Transport Owners of Nigeria Association (PTONA), Isaac Uhunwagho, who led the delegation to visit the minister, stated that their visit was in respect to challenges being faced by the body, and also to appreciate her efforts towards the challenges PTONA has been facing since February 2020 as well as the cooperation and protection which the ministry is now ready to provide for public transportation in Nigeria.