By Gift Samuel, The Sight News
Abuja-As the Inter-Ministerial Committee for the Finalization of the Draft National Transport Policy(NTP) submits its report, the Minister of Transportation, Hon. Chibuike Amaechi has disclosed that Nigeria needs to pay attention to Smart and Intelligent transportation system.
The Minister who made the disclosure on Tuesday in Abuja when he received copies of the Draft NTP that was conceived 31 years ago, stressed the need to leverage on the knowledge available, to leapfrog and invest in technology driven transportation.
Responding to the Committee after submitting the Draft copies of the NTP, the Minister said, “I hope the IT part of transportation was taken into consideration in the draft, we should. We need to leverage on what we know. We should leapfrog, we should not still be studying how moon, sun or petrol affects our transport, which bus stop we need to build and all that.
“We should see how much we will be able to put in the area of investment in ICT and Smart transportation. While the roads, air and other mode of transportation is being developed, there is need to look at the smart part of transportation.
“I agree with those who said we should stop criticizing the last government, we should do our own, what I assure Nigerians is that the Buhari administration, we will do everything possible to ensure that we maximize the resources that the President by way of budget releases to each Ministry”.
He noted that each of the Ministers are held accountable to the resources that are released to the Ministry, adding that “the days where Ministers award contracts from their table, if it has not disappeared,it is nearly 90 per cent disappearance”.
Amaechi further appreciated the Committee for their diligence, while assuring them that the draft document will be looked into by his office and that of the Minister of State for Aviation and the next step will be taken towards the actualization of the contents of the document.
Speaking earlier, the Chairperson of the Inter-Ministerial Committee for the Finalization of the Draft National Transportation Policy (NTP), Mrs. Mfon Usoro, stated that the final draft of the NTP contains a set of progressive, practical ideas, goals and vision for a responsive integrated and affordable transport system that is capable of meeting Nigeria’s current and future transport needs.
She stressed that developing a National Transport Policy for a country like Nigeria could not be said to have been an easy job, adding that the work which started in 1986 was built upon by the Committee to revamp the document to take care of emerging and current issues.
The Committee Chairperson said, “The document is comprehensive, it is such that the state and local government whether or not they have the expertise can use what is in the document to replicate in their planning and implementation of transport initiatives covere. It covered all modes of transportation in terms of policy objectives, strategy for implementation and a brief analysis of existing situation and challenges.
“What we did was to emphasize and tie in the transport planning for each of these modes into an integrated planning which is what was not happening in Nigeria and the documents we have produced, hopefully will see transportation have the attention it deserves in National planning.We have even produced a flow chat on how these could be done so that transportation takes a prime of place” she added.
Mrs. Usoro while shedding light on how the adoption and implementation of the NTP by all tiers of government will lead to a stronger Nigerian economy, noted that efficient transportation industry can serve as a vital gateway for internal and external trade in agriculture, energy, mining/oil and gas, manufacturing and other sectors that depends on transport, adding that the NTP emphasizes the importance of integrating transport with other aspects of Government policy.
The committee recommended that a key to successful implementation of the NTP is to build on what already exists , improving transport management and making it more efficient and effective, adding that specific institutional and legal arrangements to fulfil the policy objectives is needed to achieve the vision and objectives defined in the policy.
The National Transport Policy commenced in 1986 and the final draft submitted today is the work of the 19 Man Inter-Ministerial Committee set up in October 2017 by the Minister of Transportation, Honourable Chibuike Amaechi.