By Anthony Nwachukwu
To accelerate the growth of the transport sector, the Federal Ministry of Transportation will be developing the Transport Sector Medium Term Development Plan (MTDP) as an aspect of the National Development Plan 2021-2025.
The strategy is aimed at generating 21 million full-time jobs and lifting 35 million people out of poverty by 2025, the Minister of Transportation, Mohammed Jaji Sambo, disclosed in his address to the 2022 ministerial retreat, which ended weekend in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.
Sambo said this will be achieved through massive investment to close the yawning infrastructural gap in the transportation sector, with the key policy initiatives and reform programmes for the sector including implementation of the 25-year railway modernisation programme.
The others are the ports masterplan, inland waterways transportation development, the Nigerian Transportation Masterplan (NTM), tariffs and costs, creation of private sector-led national fleet and manpower capacity development.
He noted that though the sector has contributed to the socio-economic needs of Nigerians and promoted the nation’s overall sustainable development, a lot still needed “to be done in closing the yawning infrastructural gaps in the sector.
Sambo further explained that to domesticate the implementation of the National Development Plan 2021-2025, the ministry developed the Transport Sector Medium Term Development Plan (MTDP) 2021-2025 Policy Document, aimed at accelerating the growth of the transportation sector with a strategic medium-term vision statement.
According to him, the vision is “to have an effective, efficient, intermodal, safe, reliable, affordable and sustainable transportation system contributing positively to the growth of the Nigerian economy.”
The policy thrusts to drive these include “improving safety and transportation security, collaboration and synergy among transportation stakeholders, professionalism and human capacity building, strengthening institutional governance and regulation; and multi-modal infrastructural development.”
Also, five high-level strategic goals/objectives were selected to achieve these policy thrusts: Safe and secure transportation, drive economic development, facilitate connectivity (intermodal and multimodal), develop local capacity (professionalism), and ensure sustainability.
These goals have become the blueprint for tracking performance towards the delivery of our mandates, addressing the bottlenecks militating against the growth of the transportation sector and stimulating domestic growth.
The provision of transportation infrastructure is and will always be work-in-progress for any nation that desires rapid development. This is what informed my call to you to identify and implement low-hanging fruits as was stated at the briefing sessions on July 14 to August 1, 2022 on my assumption of duty in the ministry.
Consequently, he urged them to “provide feedback on the salient issues and directives meted out during the briefing sessions; critically assess the challenges that impede the quick delivery of the low-hanging fruits and, think out of the box to devise strategies to deliver quickly on these fruits.
“With the recent presentations at various fora on the investment opportunities in the transportation sector, I am optimistic that there will be an influx of international private investor patronage soon.
“I, therefore, implore us all to leverage this retreat to galvanise the sector to become more competitive, efficient and productive.”
Two salient matters that will aid us in our quest for progress and development are “harmonious working relationship within our governing boards, with uttermost respect for delegated authorities and responsibilities; and
“Ensuring a harmonious working relationship between the ministry and its agencies on one hand and the legislative arm of government, which by the provisions of our constitution that we have sworn to uphold, is to be accorded all necessary respect and corporations at all times within recognised boundaries.