The Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi, said on Tuesday that the lack of a functional national transportation policy was affecting the road transport system.
Amaechi said this at a stakeholders workshop on road transport management and mass transit operations in Nigeria held in Abuja.
“It is disheartening that after over 50 years of Nigeria’s existence, we do not have a functional national transportation policy.
“The policy implementation is not as it should be just as the documents are not comprehensive.
“So, what we are trying to do is to make sure that we have a comprehensive implementable transport policy.
“We will consult everybody in the sector, including those who are not in the transport sector to achieve that.
“As you are already aware, social systems, government, business and developmental growths of any nation depend largely on the efficiency of transportation modes.
“Efficient transportation is key to national development; this is why it has become expedient to urgently develop policies and strategies for effective and efficient road transportation.’’
According to him, the workshop was organised by the department of Road Transport and Mass Transit Administration, a new department in the ministry.
Amaechi said the new department is responsible for mainstreaming road transport matters as well as formulating policies on road transport management and mass transit operations in the country.
The minister further said that the department had held consultations with relevant stakeholders in order to build its capacity, noting that the outcome of the workshop would serve as a road map for the department.
He expressed the hope that following the interaction and consultation with all stakeholders, the workshop would provide a comprehensive implementable transport policy to move the industry forward.
The minister noted that the challenge of mass transit was the inability of successive governments to provide a nationally funded efficient mass transport system and private sector-driven mass transit system.
Amaechi said that the outcome of the workshop should re-define mass transit operation in Nigeria, giving priority to a private sector-driven system.
Also speaking, the Chairman of the occasion, the Emir of Kano, Muhammad Sanusi II, said that for the strategic objective to be implemented, there must be a clear policy framework in the industry.
Sanusi also said that for the challenges of transportation to be resolved, the issue of finance must be discussed and doors must be open for local and international investors.
He, however, said that government needed private sector participation by creating the enabling environment for right concession.
“People need to know that if we have a good transport system, people do not really need to own a car, especially the poor; government should discourage them from importing second hand cars and make it unnecessary for them.
“Once there is access to mass transit transport at a subsidised rate, the poor will not get cars the pollute the environment into the system,’’ he said.