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FG to develop national transportation master plan

Transportation Minister, Rotimi Amaechi
The Federal Government is set to
develop a national transportation master plan for diversification of the
economy and improve on non-oil sector revenues, the Minister of Transportation, Mr
Rotimi Amaechi, has said.

Amaechi, who spoke yesterday at a
briefing after a tour of facilities at the Lagos airport, said the master plan
would reduce unemployment and develop the rural economy.

He also said that the Federal
Government planned to concession the management of some airports to private

The minister said the planned concession of the four airports was to
guarantee efficiency and good management in view of dwindling resources from
the government for infrastructural development in the aviation industry.

Although, Amaechi did not disclose
the airports that would be privatised, there were indications that the Lagos
airport; the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja; the Port Harcourt
International Airport; and the Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano
were the aerodromes slated for concession.

He added that the government was
determined to fully exploit the potentials of the transport sector by opening
it up for new investment.

The minister said if properly
repositioned, the sector holds the key to unlocking the country’s economic

Amaechi identified the sector’s
problems as including bad roads, inadequate fleet, airplane services and
congested ports .

He said, “The government of President
Muhammadu Buhari is in the process of developing a national transportation
master plan that will be implemented as a fulfillment of one of his campaign
promises to diversify the national economy while improving non-oil revenues.

“While reducing dependence on oil
revenues, it will also develop the rural economy, reduce unemployment and urban

“The problems of Nigerian transport
system include bad roads, inadequate fleet of buses and trucks; irregular and
inadequate trains and airplanes services and congested ports.”

The minister also mentioned dearth of
suitably trained transport managers and planners, capital restructuring
bottlenecks, serious issues of institutional reforms and ineffective traffic

“The Buhari administration is
determined to fully exploit the potentials in the transportation sector. As a
first step, the government will pursue the enactment of legislation that will
open up the sector to new investments that will lead to economic prosperity,”
he said.
Amaechi also revealed plans to
re-introduce rail lines that would assist in the movement of petroleum products
by next year.

He said investment in rail
transportation could generate over 250,000 direct jobs.

The minister said, “The movement of
petroleum products by rail will be re-introduced in 2016. As you are aware, we
have commenced and almost completed the narrow gauge rehabilitation which will
be retained for the movement of cargoes.

“At the same time, massive investment
into the standard gauge to link most parts of the country with faster trains
for passenger movements has begun. In 2016, we hope to complete work on the
Abuja-Kaduna railway line as Mr President is highly committed to it. Work will
start in earnest on the standard gauge on many routes.”

On aviation, Amaechi said safety
would not be negotiable, as he identified the challenges of the sector to
including weak airlines and decaying infrastructure .

He said: “The ministry of
transportation in collaboration with relevant parastatals and agencies has
drawn up short term plans that are currently being implemented, of which the
travelling public will take notice of the improvements in the not distant

“These plans include the expeditious
completion of ongoing airports remodeling projects at Lagos, Abuja, Kano and Port
Harcourt and the decongestion of airports access roads among several others.
The new terminal in Lagos will generate additional 15 million passengers
annually, making a total of 30 million passengers yearly nationwide.

“The medium and long term plans will
require significant investments to upgrade and expand infrastructure to meet
current and future requirements.

“As a result of limited resources for
capital projects development, government is exploring the possibility of
private sector participation to towards the realisation of the industries’

“The Ministerial Committee on the
National Airline has submitted its report to the President, which the
government is studying carefully and will announce its decision in due course.

“In June of this year, Nigeria scored
96.44 per cent during the International Civil Aviation Security Audit. Despite
this feat, the nation can ill afford to let its guards down considering recent
events in the international scene, where passenger airplanes have been blown
out of the skies.

“Subsequently in accordance with the
Nigerian Civil Aviation Security Programme (NCASP) and International Aviation
Organisation (ICAO) annex 17, the Federal Government is looking to overhaul and
streamline the security apparatus at the nation’s airports for a seamless and
more effective security surveillance and enforcement. This will also improve
facilitation and passengers’ experience.”

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