The Federal Government will soon deploy a Road Transport Transformation Programme that will deal with the challenges bedeviling the Road Sector.

The Minister of State for Transportation, Sen. Gbemisola Ruqayyah Saraki, made this known yesterday when she declared open the 2021 retreat for Transport Commissioners Forum with the theme “Developing and Fostering Synergy in the Management of Sustainable Transport Polices” in Abuja,

According to her, the programme will move transportation towards a ‘permission’ model where road transportation will “no longer be an all-comers affair” with ill-qualified operators and drivers being the order of the day. It also includes guidelines and standards for safety, security, environmental sustainability and gender balance.

Saraki further said that the transformation programme aligns with the United Nations 2nd Decade of Action for Road Safety with the target of preventing 50% of road traffic deaths, adding that to this end the Ministry is working with Nigerian Institute Of Transport Technology to develop world-class driving schools across the country. “We believe that commercial drivers of passengers and goods transport must meet more rigorous license requirement and must undergo regular training and testing to retain such licenses”.

Furthermore, she disclosed that the Ministry is working with National Insurance Commission on transport insurance policy as well as the office of the National Security Adviser on security on the roads.

Similarly too, the Central Bank and the Ministry of Finance have been approached to provide funding  for road transport operators as is the case with what obtains in the aviation sector.

She used the opportunity to address the issue of the 10 billion COVID-19 palliative of which the Ministry made recommendation while the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment did the disbursement to Micro, Small and Medium enterprises.

Also, she spoke about the need for the country to take advantage of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement which has been ratified by the Federal Executive Council, saying it is “an opportunity for Nigeria to leverage its geographical position, its large domestic market and industrial capacity to become the transportation hub for Africa.

In her remarks, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Transportation, Dr. Magdalene Ajani, said that the annual retreat has been designed to provide a robust platform required to build cohesion and standardization in the implementation of policy issues related to transportation development in Nigeria.

The Permanent Secretary then said the transportation system is the most visible development feature of any society around the globe and the model of transportation is significantly a strategic point that attracts visitors and investors to a country which plays important roles in providing people and services with mobility that fosters employment, education, retail, health and recreational facilities.

She also reiterated commitment of the present administration in putting in place a multi-modal transportation system that will guarantee socio-economic prosperity of Nigeria by boosting the efficiency of trade/commerce, logistics and industrial sub-sectors of the economy.

She then called on the participants to explore innovative/transformative initiatives that will improve the road transport sub-sector for optimal performance and enhanced productivity while providing implementable policy recommendations in line with global best practices.

Speaking earlier, the Acting Chairman, Nigerian Transportation Commissioners Forum, and the Commissioner, Ministry of Transport, Niger State, Rahmatu Mohammed Yar’Adua, stated that the conceptual idea for the Nigeria Transportation Commissioners’ Forum became necessary due to the need to coordinate activities of various groups in the Nigerian transport sector.

“This very worthy and existing forum was also conceived to introduce innovations, initiatives and policies, which allows for peer review amongst the Federal and State Ministries of Transport”, she said.

Yar’Adua stated that the glaring gap that existed between the sector players is gradually being mitigated through the effective facilitation by the Forum. This amongst others, she said includes: facilitating synergy between Federal Road Safety Corps and the Road Traffic Management and Vehicle Inspection Officers of various States.

According to her, “the high number of low standard vehicles and negligence of road users contributes significantly to the number of accidents that occur on our roads hence he need for a reinvigorated drive towards modern vehicle inspection using state-of-the-art technology and audit of articulated vehicles, as well as the adoption and promotion of the establishment of Drivers Testing Services in line with the United Nations Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011 to 2012”.

The programme had in attendance the Director-General, Nigeria Institute of Transport Technology, Bayero Farah, Commissioners from the 36 States of the Federation, Representative of the Chairman, Senate Committee on Land Transport, Sen. Gyang Dung Istifanus, among other stakeholders.

Anastasia Ogbonna

For: Press & PR.

May 25th, 2021.