The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, has restated Federal Government’s commitment to enhance the capacity of the transportation sector in view of its contribution to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product.
Amaechi gave the assurance on Thursday in Lagos while speaking at a workshop organised by the Science, Energy and Technology Committee of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
The workshop was themed: “Capacity Building in the Transportation Industry vis-a-via the Maritime, Railway and Aviation sub-sectors”.
Represented by Dr Sokonte Davies, Executive Director, Maritime and Operations, Nigerian Ports Authority, Amaechi said the transport sector was key to the sustenance of the nation’s socio-economic development.
He said the government would continue to provide the needed support in the areas of investment, training and policies that would boost the growth of the sector.
He said: “In this regard, this administration places a huge premium on the revival of the transport sector in its entirety by the rehabilitation of existing transport infrastructure and the provision of new ones.
“Also, ensuring capacity building while finding ways to improve the financial capabilities of the citizenry.”
According to him, the contribution of the transport sector to the GDP, which is only 1.41 per cent, is low and unacceptable.
The minister said there was an urgent need to exploit untapped opportunities that abound within the sector toward improving its contribution to the national economy.
Amaechi said: “This administration is determined to fully exploit the potential of the transportation sector and would pursue the enactment of laws that would open up the sector to new investments and economic prosperity.”
He said the government was determined to revamp the railway sector with a view to enhancing national integration by encouraging mass transit of passengers and goods across the geographical regions of the country.
The minister urged the private sector to deepen its partnership with government toward improving infrastructure and capacity in the nation’s transportation sector.
The Lagos State Commissioner for Transportation, Ladi Lawanson, said the state would proffer the required solutions to the perennial traffic challenges, improve connectivity of bus and better waterways transport.
Speaking on the Apapa articulated trucks induced traffic gridlock, the commissioner said collaborative efforts with other stakeholders, especially the Federal Government and Nigeria Ports Authority, was the solution.
He said the state was working on building a truck Terminal Park at Ijora that would take about 5000 trailers and work with relevant agencies to ensure the success of the call-up system.
The president of LCCI, Babatunde Ruwase, said the theme of the workshop was germaine at this critical stage of the economy, and with the role of transportation to promote economic development.
Ruwase said: “When the sector is vibrant, it provides economic and social opportunities with benefits that result in positive multiplier effects on the entire economy.”
He said that it was necessary to provide an enabling environment with appropriate policy and legal frameworks, institutional and human resources development to increase the efficiency and social impact of transport sector.
Dr Joan Maduka, Chairperson, Science, Energy and Technology Committee, LCCI, said the transport sector was the backbone of any economy, especially as economic opportunities had been increasingly related to mobility of people, goods and information.
Maduka said: “The development of this sector through capacity building is critical and essential for the nation to enhance quality of life, stimulate wealth or assert its competitive edge in the global arena.”