The federal government is planning to commence the regulation of road transportation and mass transit vehicles’ operations in the country.
Senator Gbemisola Saraki, the Minister of State Transportation, disclosed this on Monday in a meeting with a section of automotive manufacturers led by Ifeanyichukwu Agwu, the Chief Executive Officer of BKG Exhibitions Limited, and Chairman Organising Committee of Abuja International Motor Fair.
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She said the decision became necessary in order to reposition Nigeria’s road transportation system ahead of the African Continental Free Trade Area (ACFTA).
The Nigerian road transportation and mass transit is largely an unregulated territory.
The Minister of State lamented that of 76000 trucks registered at the port only 17 met the standard, stressing that Lomé and Cotonou were complaining that Nigerian vehicles are below standard.
Saraki, however, disclosed that arrangements were being put in place for the federal government to brainstorm with players in the automotive industry, including assemblers and manufacturers, to find a local solution that would move the industry forward.
According to the Minister of State, over 97% of passengers’ movements in Nigeria are done on the road, stressing the need for the government to ensure proper restructuring for better service delivery.
“This afternoon, I was in a meeting that the Vice President Chaired and we are looking at how best to tackle the issue of road transportation,” she said.
“I am sure you will agree with me that right now, it is unregulated, anybody can put the vehicle on the road and call himself a transporter and they are going.
“Funds are not coming, taxes are not paid, there is no consumer satisfaction, there is no feedback, it’s completely disoriented right now.
“And with the fact that ACFTA is coming soon, in order for us to compete properly, we need to have a regulated road transportation system for commercial operators, which now comes to the manufacturers.
“With the ACFTA coming, this morning it came out that we have a lot of substandard vehicles on the roads.
“I know that Lome and Cotonou have complained that the vehicles in Nigeria are below standard. Of the 76000 trucks registered supposedly only 17 meet the standard,” she noted.
Earlier, Agwu described the nation’s auto industry as an orphan that is being overused even though it accounts for 15% of those working in the country.
The BKG boss lamented that the auto sector is under heavy stress which affects Nigerians in terms of cost of transportation, lack of safety in the movement of goods and services due to bad vehicles.
According to Agwu, policy inconsistency is one problem that has cost the auto sector a whole lot of money.
“Companies set up factories to assemble with billions of Naira and the next thing you see is they change the policy and said you can bring in whatever you want.
“Where does that work? And that is why serious companies actually do not come to Nigeria” he said.