National Transport Policy key to achieving sustainable development, says Olopoenia


A former President of the Nigerian Association of Master Mariners (NAMM), Capt. Ade Olopoeniyan has said that having a robust national transport policy is the first step for Nigeria to achieve sustainable development.

Olopoeniyan who made this assertion at a function in Lagos recently stated that although Nigeria as a nation likes reacting to issues as they unfold, if a policy is in place, it won’t be reacting to issues because a lot of plans would have been in place and there would be strategies to implement all those plans.

According to him, “If the maritime industry needs to move forward, the best thing that I believe that we need to get it right is to have a National Transport Policy. More than twenty years ago when I was still in the service, we used to have yearly meetings, conferences of the transport ministry in the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory with the Minister of Transport. A whole week will be dedicated to talk about transport sector in Nigeria and a transport policy for Nigeria has been drafted for more than twenty years. If you go to the internet and Google the Nigerian Transport Policy, you will see it there, it is in draft.

“I was telling somebody last year that part of our problem is that we don’t have a transport policy and the man said, oh! We are going to have one very soon because the Minister has just set up a committee, that was more than one year ago now and the thing is still a draft. If this Minister leaves, another Minister comes, he will set up another committee and the draft will now be updated and it will go on and on.

“You can actually interrogate other countries if they have transport policies, policies that are actually making progress in the maritime industry. If you don’t have a policy, look at all these agencies now, you will see that the heads of the agencies, when they arrive, they will come with their own ideas and they will tailor all that they are going to do towards their own ideas. As soon as these people leave, another set of leaders come to the agencies, they come with their own ideas and nothing happens and it goes on and on.

“So, I believe that a transport policy is the first step for us to achieve the sustainable development. It is true that we are reacting to it because in Nigeria, we like to react to issues. If we have a policy in place, we won’t be reacting to issues because a lot of plans would have been in place and there will be strategies to implement all those plans. A transport policy should be created for Nigeria so that the maritime industry should move forward.”

He therefore called on the federal government to reconsider its position on this all important subject in the overall interest of the economy, the maritime industry and Nigeria as a whole.

Photo: Former President of NAMM, Capt. Ade Olopoeniyan

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