The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, has reiterated the commitment of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration to develop an efficient transport system that would encourage investment into the country.
Amaechi spoke on Monday in Abuja at the 1st International Transportation Conference organised by the Transportation Growth Initiative (TGI), with the theme, “Improving Infrastructure for Sustainable and Efficient Transportation.”
He said that the current investment climate of the country was not good enough to encourage foreign investments, adding that an efficient transportation system was imperative to favourable investment climate.
The minister said that the government was determined to open up every state of the federation to rail lines by linking the existing line with the new ones to be constructed.
He explained that the Lagos- Kano standard rail gauge, the Lagos-Calabar coastal line and Port Harcourt narrow gauge were expected to link all the state capitals.
According to him, “The fulcrum of the diversification process of the current government is that we must develop our transportation system because if we don’t, we cannot diversify the economy.
“You cannot even deal with the issue of solid minerals if you ignore transportation.
“One of the main reasons why most of these investors are not interested in the Nigerian investment climate as it ought to be is because the transport infrastructure is not there.
“We are doing intermodal transportation, but we are conscious of our responsibility as a government to ensure that Nigerians are able to move their goods around and outside the country.
“An investor has agreed to invest over three billion U.S. dollars to take the central line from Abuja to Warri and build a deep seaport there under the Public Private Partnership arrangement,” he said.
Amaechi also disclosed that the government was doing its best to provide infrastructure in the maritime sector, explained that the construction of the Lekki seaport would commence in January 2017.
He said that the government was also addressing the problem of insecurity in the coastal lines to encourage investors to go to other coastal regions to develop seaports.
According to the minister, the Federal Government has contacted a coastal security outfit to handle the issue of sea pirates.
Chairman of TGI and a former Minister of Aviation, Osita Chidoka, called on the government to develop a road map for the provision of efficient transport infrastructure.
According to him, strategic investment in infrastructure will produce a foundation for long term growth.
Chidoka urged government to use infrastructure to stimulate the economy in this time of recession.
He also said that the road transport sector, which constitutes the dominant mode of transportation in the country, was in poor state and lacked regulation.
According to him, both rail and water transport systems are currently underperforming considering the expected rise in population of the country which is estimated to hit 300 million by 2050.
“I want us to, first of all, have a mind-set that we need to use infrastructure to stimulate the economy as Nigeria is talking about recession.
“Government must endeavour to create smart roads and develop drones for small scale delivery and supervision to save lives.
“In the face of increasing population and budgetary constraints, the government should leverage on Public Private Partnership arrangements to deliver modern infrastructure,” Chidoka said.
Copyright Ships & Ports Ltd. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit given to www.shipsandports.com.ng as the source.