BY: ONOME AMUGE
The foremost gathering in Abuja of businessmen and businesswomen in the organised private sector, the Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) is mounting a strong lobby to have President Muhammadu Buhari sign the National Transport Commission (NTC) bill into law.
The lobby appears to have become a matter of urgent importance because they want an enablement of the provision of a regulatory body and law for the entire transport sector, attract needed investment to the sector, and mobilise the transport policy to advance economic diversification.
The lobby issued forth from a recent roundtable on road corridor development initiative in Nigeria organised by the Transport Trade Group (TTG) of Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) in partnership with the National Chamber Policy Centre (NCPC), where stakeholders, representing different transport sectors, bemoaned the stagnation of the sector attributed to the delay in finalisation of the bill.
They are saying that lack of a regulatory framework has been an impediment to private sector investment, adding that huge resources needed to develop the road sector cannot be provided alone by the government without the private sector.
They further posited that many initiatives created by the government on the road sector only covers road construction, arguing that what Nigeria needs is a road corridor development agenda capable of transforming the roads and associated area into economy zones for sustainability.
Their observations among other things included the need for early conclusion of the integrated road corridor development policy which has been under design for the last five years; the opening up of the road sector to private investment which they noted, can only be achieved with a signing into law of the national transport commission bill, as well as the conclusion of the road corridor development policy; and the need for multimodal approach to transport sector development in the country, so as to ensure that the various transport modes complement each other.
At the end of the roundtable, it was suggested that an enlarged policy forum to further address the issue of road corridor development should be issued; and in this regard the following recommendations were proposed by the participants:
Opening up of the road sector to private investment which can only be achieved with signing into law the national transport commission bill, as well as the conclusion of the road corridor development policy.
The need for a multimodal approach to transport sector development in Nigeria, so as to ensure that the various transport modes complement each other.
That road, railway, maritime, and air transportation are planned to create a multimodal value chain for the growth and development of Nigeria’s economy.
Aliyu Idi Hong, ACCI vice president on communication strategy and external relation, opined that the road corridor development initiative is an important area of focus that must be given attention by stakeholders across various government and business communities.
He argued that the development is an integral and strategic nerve of the Nigerian economy which cannot be overemphasised, adding that its neglect and slow progress have frustrated the movement of goods and services and the ease of doing business.