The transport sector is undoubtedly an important sector in any economy, as it is responsible for the seamless movement of people and goods from one point to another.
Importance of transportation cannot be over emphasised, as the sector is directly or indirectly linked to all other sectors, helping the economy to grow and providing direct and indirect jobs.
It has been observed that “efficient transportation reduces costs in many economic sectors, while inefficient transportation increases these costs. In addition, the impacts of transportation are not always intended and can have unforeseen or unintended consequences”.
In Nigeria, the different modes of transportation are actively engaged to service the economy. Though deplorable, most of the roads are serving the people as the main means of transportation in rural and urban area.
Though water transportation is yet to be fully harnessed, the importance cannot be relegated to the background. Some of the major cities of the country in the different geo-political zones have functional airports, even as the government is bent on improving the epileptic railway services.
The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) has said that a total of 15,232, 597 passengers travelled through Nigeria’s airports in 2016. The 2017 figures are yet to be released.
Also, it has been reported that Nigeria has an estimated vehicle population of 11,458,370 as at the first quarter of 2017, out of which commercial ones accounted for 53.8 per cent.
These vehicles ply on a total road network of over 193,200 kilometers, according to the World Bank collection of development indicators, compiled from officially recognized sources.
Key transport projects financed in recent times are the re-modelling of the international airports, the acquisition of buses for the Lagos Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), which transports an average 100,000 passengers daily, and the construction of standard gauge for the Nigerian Railway Corporation by the Chinese Civil Engineering Construction Company (CCECC), among others.
Hence, it was not surprising when recently the Minister of Transportation, Hon. Rotimi Amaechi commended one of the financial institutions for its steadfastness in financing transportation projects.
Amaechi commended the role being played by banks, especially Sterling Bank Plc in the repositioning of the sector. The minister was quoted in a statement from the bank, to have made the remark at the end of the 2017 National Conference organised by the Ministry of Transport.
According to the statement, he commended Sterling Bank Plc for its intervention in Nigeria’s transport sector, saying such intervention from the private sector would help to accelerate the desired transformation in the sector.
The minister noted that Sterling Bank had established itself as the reference bank in transport finance as a result of its investment in the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) and LAGBUS initiatives of the Lagos state government.
“I want to commend Sterling Bank for its support to the transport sector so far. I am aware that Sterling Bank financed both the LAGBUS buses and over 400 BRT buses plying various routes on Lagos roads. It is our hope that the bank would expand this experience beyond Lagos so that people living in other parts of Nigeria will also benefit from their benevolence,” he said.
We urge Sterling bank, Zenith bank, Fidelity bank and all others involved in financing of transport projects.