In this exclusive interview with MMS Plus, the Director General of the Nigerian Institute of Transport Technology, Dr. Aminu Musa Yusuf bears his mind on the developments in the Nigerian transport sector, the significance of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport in developing nation’s transport sector as well as what the future holds for the sector.
What is your appraisal of the Nigerian transport industry in terms of policy and infrastructure- has it there been any development in the last one year?
I am not a politician, but as a technocrat I can tell you the industry has witnessed a lot of activities in terms of infrastructure. The government has tried to release a lot of money on railway development and highways. Infrastructure is carrying bulk of the budget for the 2016. If you notice in terms of policy; the Ministry of Transport has been spearheading the finalization of the new National Transport Policy for the Nigeria which is the best thing to happen in order to guide the industry and direct where and how the industry should evolve.
All the modes of transport have been brought under one platform by the policy in line with the federal government policy of trying to revive and to diversify the economy, in order to create jobs for the teeming youth of Nigeria.
What the place of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT) Nigeria in fast tracking this process?
The CILT is a professional body, we are there to advise the government. As professionals in the industry, we know how the industry should be run because most of our members are operators. So, whatever plans, policies or political will that the government comes up with; it is the CILT members that will move it forward because we have the personnel, so we are also doing the right thing.
One initiative in the transport sector that is coming up very soon is the proposed national carrier for shipping. How do you think Nigeria should go about it?
It is a good idea the government is bringing out a national carrier that will carry Nigerian flag but it is not going to be owned by the government, it will be private owned and this will be better for us at the international committee of nations. So, wherever you go the issue of cargo, port state and flag state control will be enhanced if the Nigerian flag is been flown by a particular line. The government decision in partnering with the private sector is good.
Will they get the requisite cargo to maintain the fleet?
Yes. There is sufficient cargo to maintain this fleet in Nigeria. Even now without the carrier, the cargo is there, definitely when you have the flag it will be easier and negotiations will be better on the international scene for cargo carriage.
With regards to some of the issues in CILT, I learnt some people haven’t gotten their certificates for years after completing the programme. What could be responsible for this?
No. These are just insinuations. It is not a problem from the secretariat and we have no problem issuing certificates at all. Have they applied? If they have and their certificates are not yet out, we will do something about it. Once you have attained a particular grade level we will give you the certificates as long as you meet all the requisite conditions.
How do you see the Nigerian transport industry evolving in the next one or two years?
Well, there is going to be a beehive of activities because of the amount of investment the government is putting in the transport sector. This coupled with the zeal with which members of the CILT are working to see that manpower is turned around and sharpening their skills because everybody knows what to do. I am sure in the next one to two years; the transport sector will be able to provide the key that Nigeria needs to move the country forward.
In recent times, you have told us about plans to transform NITT, but we still like to hear it again since it is taking a new dimension now that NITT is thirty (30) years old?
NITT is thirty years old and we have already achieved our full mandate. What we are doing now is to consolidate on the achievement we have gained over the years. We have already opened our branches. We have just opened a learning centre in the North East in Gombe; while we are also concluding plans to open another outreach centre in the South East in Enugu because our clients have doubled over the years. We already have three normal centres in Abuja, Lagos and PortHarcourt apart from the headquarters in Zaria. Abuja and Lagos centres are growing very well; we do programs, as well as the PortHarcourt centre. The Gombe center was recently opened with assistance from the state government; they gave us the facility. So, we will consolidate on our gains, because we have achieved our full mandate and proceeded to establishing several centers which also serve as the centers of training the entire manpower of the industry.