By Frank Odinukaeze
The Minister of Transportation,Engr. Mu’azu Jaji Sambo,has stated that improved infrastructure, efficient and productive transport sector will attract foreign investors’ patronage in the sector.
Engr.Sambo who stated this at the Ministerial Retreat held at IBOM ICON Hotel in Akwa Ibom State, from 27th to 29th October 2022. , expressed optimism that there would be an influx of international private sector investors in the sector soon.
He further called on the participants to leverage the retreat to galvanize the transportation sector to become more competitive, efficient and productive.
He noted that the ,”Retreat offers an enabling platform for us to collectively examine our successes and challenges as a sector and develop realistic strategies to address our flaws to yield bigger successes in the years ahead” .
The Minister who began his career in the transportation sector in 1984, stated that he is delighted to be back home.
Sambo noted that the transportation sector has contributed to the socio-economic needs of Nigerians and promoted the overall sustainable development of the nation.
He however noted that a lot still needs to be done in closing the infrastructural gaps that exist in the sector. He stated that it is these noticed challenges that necessitated the development of the National Development Plans (Medium-Term Development Plans 2021-2025 and a Long-Term Plan called the Nigeria Agenda 2050) to invest massively in infrastructure, ensure macroeconomic stability, enhance the investment environment, improve living conditions,and implement climate change mitigation.
Engr.Sambo disclosed that the Federal Government is determined to reduce poverty and unemployment in the country and to that end has concluded plans to generate 21 million full-time jobs and lift 35 million people out of poverty by 2025 .
This, he noted, is in line with the government’s commitment of lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years. .
“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 in the country with a strategic Medium-Term Vision Statement, which is: “To have an effective, efficient, intermodal, safe, reliable, affordable and sustainable transportation system contributing positively to the growth of the Nigerian economy” he said
He said the policy thrust is to drive the vision while improving safety and transportation security, collaboration and synergy amongst transportation stakeholders.
In order to achieve the vision ,Sambo stated that five high-level strategic goals and objectives were selected to achieve these Policy thrusts namely: Safe and Secure Transportation; Drive Economic Development; Facilitate Connectivity (Intermodal and Multimodal); Develop Local Capacity (Professionalism);and Ensure Sustainability.
His words , “I am well aware that you are all conversant with these high-level goals, as they have become a 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”.
Sambo stated that the key policy initiatives and reform programmes for the sector include: Implementation of the 25 year – railway modernization programme; Ports Master Plan;Inland waterways transportation development;the Nigerian Transportation Master-plan (NTM);Tariff and Costs;Creation of Private Sector – led National Fleet and Manpower capacity development”
Engr.Samno noted that since coming on board as transportation minister , efforts have been concentrated on the expansion and modernization of the nation’s transportation system which has resulted in numerous achievements in the Rail, Maritime and Road sub-sectors.
“Let me reiterate that the provision of transportation infrastructure is and will always be work in progress for any nation that desires rapid development” he said,adding that “This is what informed my call to you to identify and implement low-hanging fruits as was stated at the briefing sessions held from 14th July and 1st August 2022 on my assumption of duty in the Ministry”
He charged the participants to use the opportunity offered by the retreat 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.