• Thursday, July 25, 2024
businessday logo

BusinessDay

Driving sustainable growth in Nigeria’s transportation sector

How rideshare is proving to be game-changer for corporate transportation

Nigeria is the most populous (200million people) black nation on earth and the fashion, technological, entertainment and creative hub in Africa. It is Africa’s largest oil and gas producer with abundant natural resources and holding the largest natural gas reserves on the continent. It has proven oil and gas reserves of 37 billion barrels and 192 trillion cubic feet respectively, over 300,000 square kilometres of arable land and significant deposits of largely untapped minerals.

While Transportation is the “gateway” to Nigeria’s economy it is very important for leaders in the sector to constantly innovate and evolve the sector strategies as well as infrastructure development to boost trade and investments opportunities. Worthy of note are the strategic moves of the Federal Government in the railway, agriculture and information technology sector intended to boost the economy.

While the launching of the 2017 Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) led to a review of previous economic policy decisions, it is important to point out that the policy included an investor and exporter foreign exchange window (IEFX) and tightening of monetary policies. Some other priorities of the ERGP included improving transportation infrastructure, driving industrialisation, focusing on SMEs, stabilising the macroeconomic environment, and achieving agriculture and food security.

Therefore, investing more in the development of the sector will add more value to the sector’s growth as well as increase the level of competitiveness, which will open the sector and economy for growth. This will also attract more foreign investment and employment opportunities.

Nigeria’s transportation system can be considered as performing below standard when compared to its potentials and based on this, it is important that Nigeria builds a resilient and sustainable transport system to boost the economy as well as attract more investments and employment opportunities. Having a more sustainable transport system can help stimulate more growth as well as ensure continuity and longevity.

Investing more in the development of the sector will add more value to the sector’s growth as well as increase the level of competitiveness, which will open the sector and economy for growth

The slow performance of the nation’s transport sector is due to deficiencies in modern transport infrastructure, lack of professionalism within the industry, lack of use of modern technology to drive the sector, lack of modern communication equipment and security systems to monitor inherent challenges and gaps across the different modes. Nigeria is losing billions of dollars annually because of these gaps.

The nation’s transport sector can create diverse business and employment opportunities as well as having the potential to open the economy as well as cushion the effect of economic recession due to the impact of COVID 19 if the government can give the sector more attention.

Also, for the sector to be more sustainable it would require hiring professionals with the right knowledge, skills, exposure, and network to drive the change.

So far it can be considered that the performance of Nigeria’s transportation sector performs below standard, and this is responsible for the high number of injuries and deaths caused by accidents, kidnappings, robberies, and other forms of insecurity across the different modes in the sector due to poor roads, lack of modern infrastructure, inadequate communication devices, poor training and retraining of personnel etc

Some of these challenges are responsible for the regular traffic congestion, high level insecurity, increased pollution, poor maintenance culture, and ocean pollution due to oil spills as well as other major challenges existing in the sector.

Read also: ‘Poor power supply and cost of transportation major production challenges in Nigeria’

Nigeria’s economy and the transportation sector are inseparable and thus lacks an efficient system equipped with modern policies, personnel with the right skills and knowledge that can enable it to overcome its current challenges as well as plan properly. Additionally implementing the use of modern digital technology systems in the sector can help in forecasting and adapting swiftly to changes as they arise.

This would also make the sector more resilient and become responsive to changes capable of affecting it. Also, transportation is one of the most important elements of economies that can have a direct impact on economic development as well as welfare of the citizens. Therefore, when transportation systems are efficient, they help facilitate socioeconomic opportunities that can result in multiplier effects to the economy especially in areas such as better accessibility to markets, reduced idle time, creation of business and employment opportunities, and attract foreign and local investment opportunities.

Summarily, a sustainable transportation system reduces costs, stimulates economies, and creates business and employment opportunities. The sector also plays a very strategic role in the economy and so the government needs to prioritise the sector for development and diversification of the economy. It is important to note the sector has both direct and indirect impacts to the economy.

Direct impacts relate to accessibility where transport enables products from the rural areas to get to the cities, saves time and ensures safety. Indirect impacts relate to the multiplier effects to the economy where the price of commodities, goods or services are reduced or increased due to demand and supply.

Basically, transportation facilitates movement of goods and services as well as boosts service industry, so creating a more sustainable transportation system would increase demand in transportation services across all the different modes as well as increase productivity. Additionally, it will also increase the sector contribution to the nation’s GDP and add more value to the lives of the people.

Last but not the least, achieving a more sustainable transportation system requires hiring more professionals to run the sector and this needs to be done based on merit as obtained in developed nations such as Australia, Canada, United States of America, UAE, China etc. Our leaders should strive towards ensuring that the best candidates/organisations that are qualified and perform best get the job.