Transport stakeholders have called on President Muhammadu Buhari to urgently sign into law the National Transport Commission Bill so as to provide a regulatory body and law for the entire transport sector.
Stakeholders from different transportation sectors while speaking on Thursday said doing this will attract needed investment to the sector and mobilise the transport policy to advance economic diversification.
At a roundtable on Road Corridor Development Initiative in Nigeria organised by the Transport Trade Group (TTG) of Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) in partnership with the National Chamber Policy Centre (NCPC), they lamented the stagnation of the sector due to the delay in finalisation of National Transport Commission Bill.
They lamented that huge resources needed to develop the road sector cannot be provided alone by the government without the private sector, noting, however that lack of a regulatory framework is an impediment to private sector investment.
They further posited that the many initiatives of the government on the road sector only covers road construction arguing that what Nigeria needs is road corridor development agenda that will transform our roads and associated area into economic zones for sustainability.
Their observations among other things include; the need for early conclusion of the integrated road corridor development policy which has been under design for the last five years, the opening up of the road sector to private investment which can only be achieved with a signing into law the national transport commission bill as well as the conclusion of the road corridor development policy and the need for a multimodal approach to transport sector development in Nigeria so as to ensure that the various transport modes complement each other amongst others.
At the end of the roundtable, it was recommended that an enlarged policy forum to further address the issue of road corridor development while also agreeing that the roundtable was just an explanatory one and there is a need for a deeper and elaborate policy conference where the issue of multimodal development should be considered.
ACCI Vice President on Communication Strategy and External Relation, Dr Aliyu Idi Hong in his remarks at the event said, the Road Corridor Development Initiative is an important area of focus that must be given attention by stakeholders across various government and business communities.
He said the development is an integral and strategic nerve of the Nigerian economy which cannot be overemphasized, adding that “unfortunately, over the years it has been neglected and has witnessed slow progress which has frustrated the movement of goods and services and the ease of doing business”.
The Chairman of the roundtable, Mallam Bukhari Bello, told the stakeholders that once the National Transport Commission Bill is signed into law, the Transport sector will witness a new lease of life.
According to Bello, the proposed commission will create a regulatory structure that will in turn enhance investors’ confidence to boost investment in the sector.
Other recommendations of the roundtable include the following; the opening up of the road sector to private investment which can only be achieved with a signing into law the national transport commission bill as well as the conclusion of the road corridor development policy.
Others are; the need for a multimodal approach to transport sector development in Nigeria, so as to ensure that the various transport modes complement each other and that road, railway, maritime, and air transportation be planned to create a multimodal value chain for the growth and development of Nigeria economy.
It was also agreed by participants that a similar roundtable should be organised to address recent development within the railway, aviation, road, and maritime sector.