By Ignatius Ushie

Infinity Tyres

The Federal Government has restated its commitment to providing sustainable transportation infrastructure to boost economic development in the country.

The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Transportation, Dr Magdalene Ajani, who disclosed this yesterday in Kano at the opening ceremony of the technical session of the 16th National Council on Transportation (NCT) with the theme: “Sustainable Transportation: A Panacea for National Development” said “Transportation has proven to be one of the critical factors of development at the heart of economic growth and prosperity of any nation.”

Dr. Ajani, further said: “transportation, as the lubricant and engine of economic development, should have its rightful place, if sustainable development is to be achieved”. adding that it is for the same reason that President Buhari’s administration in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), has pursued economic diversification by building sustainable transportation infrastructure across the country.

She said the government had embarked on the implementation of a multimodal transport system, a revitalisation programme and massive investment in the sector, despite financial challenges.

Notable amongst these achievements are: the completion and commissioning of the Warri-Itakpe, Lagos-Ibadan Standard Gauge lines, the Commissioning of the Deep Blue Sea project to improve security and reduce piracy at sea and the recent ground-breaking of the Kaduna-Kano Standard Gauge Rail

Ajani said that the NCT was responsible for articulating a sustainable framework for the development of the transport sector and charged the participants,, saying:” a forum of this nature provides an opportunity for the key players in the sector to interact, cross-fertilize ideas and exchange information that will contribute to the growth of the sector”.

In his remarks, the Kano State Commissioner for Housing and Transport, Alhaji Mahmoud Sansti, said that transportation is key to achieving economic growth and development.

He, however, noted that the sector was facing a lot of challenges, hence the need for all stakeholders to proffer lasting solutions.

Sansti urged participants to work hard in bringing out recommendations that would assist to address the challenges in the sector.

Kick-starting the technical section, Professor Samuel Adewumi talked on the theme while the Managing Director, Infrastructure Bank, Ross Oluyede, talked on “Sustainable Funding for Transportation Infrastructure”.  They both agreed that the transportation sector is the most important infrastructure in any economy. They equally agreed that no sector can thrive in the absence of a viable and operational transport system.

The Managing Director of Infrastructural Bank further observed that there are challenges bedevilling the Nigerian transport sector, most notable being: insufficient transport infrastructure, lack of investment (both Public and Private sector). He suggested among others that the Federal Government should deploy a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) syntax for the transport sector.

Day 1 of the conference came to a close after reading of resolutions from the 15th National Council on Transportation which was held in 2017, in Sokoto State.

In attendance at day 1 of the conference were: Directors of the Ministry, Director General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, Dr. Bashir Jamoh, Registrar, Council for Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria, Sam Nwakohu, Executive Secretary, Nigerian Shippers’ Council,  Emmanuel Jime, Managing Director, Nigerian Railway Corporation, Engr. Fidet Okhiria, Permanent Secretary, Kano State Ministry of Housing and Transport, Mrs. Amina Usman, Permanent Secretary, Yobe State Ministry of Transport, Mustapha, and a host of others.