By Anthony Nwachukwu
The Minister of Transportation, Mu’azu Jaji Sambo, has rated President Muhammadu Buhari high on “strategic interventions” in the transportation sector, having identified it as the fourth of the nine priority areas of his administration and recognised its role in socio-economic development.
Presenting the ministry’s scorecard from 2015 till date at the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture Press Centre in Abuja Monday, Sambo said the administration’s intervention led to the growth of the economy, with transportation a critical player in the growth and sustainability of other areas of the economy.
He listed the areas as wealth creation, improving access to agricultural production centres and markets, movement of raw materials and distribution of finished products.
Other are” “facilitating tourism as well as domestic and international trade, sustainability of mining and the extractive industry, as well as being a major support base in contributing to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the nation.
“To underpin the critical role of transportation, the administration has made transportation infrastructure a priority both in its Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP 2017-2020) and the National Development Plan (NDP 2021-2025).”
The minister added that the Buhari-led administration has provided safe and secure maritime borders to prevent illegal activities on Nigeria’s waterways, including the passage and signing into law of the Suppression of Piracy and other Maritime Offenses (SPOMO) Act, 2019.
“The ministry in its versatile and intermodal mandate has taken charge of the safety and security of the nation’s international waters, inland waterways and railway corridors in collaboration with a wide range of stakeholders,” he stated.
“Some of the implemented interventions include the Integrated National Security and Waterways Protection Infrastructure – the Deep Blue Project. It prevents illegal activities in Nigeria’s maritime waters, thereby aiding regional security in the Gulf of Guinea and MOWCA jurisdictions.”
With Buhari’s support, as well, the transportation sector achieved the development of inland waterways transportation as a viable alternative mode, as well as railway infrastructure, safety and security.
“Within the period under review, the moribund commercial railway services in Nigeria were resuscitated as locomotives and coaches were procured and others refurbished. Safety and security are further enhanced through the provision of the latest Signal Communication Equipment and Solutions,” Sambo added.
“This includes strengthening of the Nigerian Railway Police Command through an increase in number and specialised training, and the provision of adequate logistics assets for high mobility and technology-based security architecture.”
On the development of ports infrastructure, including the Lekki Deep Sea Port and the Badagry Deep Sea Port, “the existing seaports are being maintained in conformity with IMO (International Maritime Organisation) standards and conventions,” he added.
In local capacity area, Sambo said the administration has sustained development of requisite manpower for the sector through the Institute of Transport Technology and the Maritime Academy of Nigeria.
Also, “the programmes, projects, initiatives and interventions within the period created massive direct skilled and unskilled jobs and millions of indirect jobs in the various subsectors under the ministry.”
He noted that though “the sector is far from perfect, the interventions on ground will serve as a veritable template for the incoming administration to build upon.”
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