The Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT), Nigeria has again called for a National Transport Policy for Nigeria so as to guide investments of the states, the federal government and private sector interventions looking at windows that may be open for them to also invest.
The National Executive Director, CILT Nigeria, Mr. Paul Ndibe who made this call in an interview with our correspondent in Lagos recently noted that without a national transport policy, one could hardly see a coordination of all the interventions by different layers of investors.
Ndibe said, “Government should also try and have National Transport Policy; government is making so many investments both in the rail and in other sectors and in some sections of the country, roads and bridges. How are they being coordinated? Even some states, there is a heavy craze for states in building airports now. So, what is attraction to building airports? How would that translate into access to quick travelling? Who pays the cost? How much is it? So, is that what we should be driving at given lower earning capacity of Nigerians?
“But if there is national transport policy, it will guide even investments of the states, investments from the federal government and private sector interventions looking at windows that may be open for them to also invest. But without a national transport policy, you can hardly see a coordination of all that.
“We have seen that they just did ground breaking ceremony for Kano-Kaduna rail line and it is on standard gauge and then, the last encounter was the contract for Port-Harcourt to Maiduguri on the narrow gauge. Before that was Kano – Maradi rail line on the standard gauge, so, why won’t we think of a uniform gauge and flow with that because even the International Union of Railways had long agreed that all new extensions on any of African railways should be on standard gauge. So, if we have a narrow gauge that we said is weak, fraught with lower speed, cannot be digitalized and with poor bridges and weak superstructures with sharp curves, why are we still trying to improve the poor condition on the narrow gauge that we are not likely to get facilities to put on the track? But new extensions after that are on standard gauge.
“So, if there is a national transport policy, it will stipulate on these new extensions, which gauge we should adopt. But in absence of that, everybody is doing what appeals to him or her. With the states, instead of building roads, they are developing airports, federal government instead of harmonizing developments on railway is now creating a dichotomy between the standard gauge and narrow gauge and with the federal government not looking at having a national carrier or even ensuring that airlines that are available are assisted in order to have full fleet for offering services to meet the demand of air travel domestically, we are not even looking at internationally.
“And of course, on the road, mend the roads, develop more roads, have a standard form for vehicles that ply on the roads in terms of trucks. Reduce accidents with the tankers, do things that will enable truck owners to actually do the right thing by enforcement. But these things are not in place and these are the areas we would expect government to use professional bodies, empower them more, assist them and let them do some of these things and then government can have a break and attend to other things. Without them doing that, we will still continue recycling these problems.”
Photo: National Executive Director, CILT Nigeria, Mr. Paul Ndibe.
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