Nigeria’s transport sector and importance of upgrading its human resource system

As a nation, it is important that we encourage professionalism for the growth and sustainability of our transport sector. When this is done, it will inspire and motivate stakeholders, bring out the best in them as well as maximize efficiency in the sector.

The sector needs to adopt a flexible change strategy that can enable it adapt swiftly to the constant change that occurs globally in the industry for it to stay competitive.

A key element necessary in making this happen is to ensure a well-structured human resource planning process is in place for the sector to be able to convert all available opportunities to the benefit of the nation’s economy.

It is also important that policies in the sector align properly for it to develop capacities to improve quality, and innovation in conformity with the sector’s goal as it is out of place for it to be using outdated strategies and systems and be expecting different results.

Most developed nations have well-structured research groups mandated with responsibility to constantly innovate and grow consistently. For example, they make sufficient funding available to support and boost platforms such as academic institutions, research groups as well as consultancy to provide competitive solutions and ideas.

While transportation and logistics plays an important role in facilitating and attracting foreign investment opportunities (foreign transport organisations setting up branches in Nigeria, stocks, bonds, mutual funds, exchange traded funds, American depositary receipts (ADRs), and global depositary receipts (GDRs)).

Also, new and emerging technologies such as robotics and automation have changed the way we work and the way we receive services and products, making employers change their employment processes to match the need for employees to have modern skills and stay competitive.

Systematically, if Nigeria’s transport sector can fully adapt to modern strategies in managing its human resources by ensuring sector-wide training (and re-training) it will help refresh industry knowledge and technical know-how to keep professionals updated of latest trends, new legislation, and the technologies for their career and sector growth. It will ultimately contribute positively for them to easily innovate and adapt to change management.

With the sector’s great potential as well as numerous challenges facing the sector in becoming secure, safer, and sustainable (e.g., kidnappings, armed robbery, poor monitoring and tracking systems, poor infrastructure and operational standards, bad roads, well-tailored policies), etc., Nigeria’s road transport sector still managed to be the best performing sector in the second quarter of 2022 with a 56.38 percent growth. Also, based on the recent GDP data released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) the economy grew by 3.54 percent in real terms.

While the contribution of transport activities to Nominal GDP in Q2 2022 was 2.79 percent, greater than the 1.60 percent contribution in the first quarter of 2022 and up from the 2.09 percent reported in the same period of 2021. Compared to the 124.54 percent recorded in the previous quarter, the rail sector suffered a decline of 37.90 percent in Q2 2022, a decrease of 69.57 percent. Air transport was 50.68 percent in Q1 2022, compared to 22.45 percent recorded in Q2 2022, and water transport saw a decrease of 3.02 percent in Q2 2002. This result shows the potentials of the sector and if given the right attention can perform thrice better than what it recently achieved.

Developing better strategy through partnerships with nations such as China, Australia, USA, and Canada that have consistently grown the transport sector through better funding of their human capital development, research and think-tank groups within the sector would enable us to learn and tailor our human resources development strategies to achieve greater efficiency.

Nigeria has a lot of skilled and experienced transport professionals both home and abroad, so it is important that the government give priority attention to these professionals by appointing them into key positions to help manage and drive the sector to greater height while government focus and invest its time, resources and energy in monitoring and regulation.

Government also needs to partner transport researchers and think tank groups to tailor, innovate and develop better policies to stay competitive and be more productive. In Nigeria, human resource challenges have remained prevalent because of lack of attention, awareness or perhaps growing cost in training and development of personnel. There need to be adequate provision for training and development programmes for its workforce.

Some evident degeneration and setbacks in our transportation system can be blamed on poor human resource development and lack of upgrades that cannot match global standards in addition to poor development programmes and applications.

So, hiring the right professionals with the right skill sets will enable transport leaders to have a broader view on better strategies of moving goods, persons and services across our nation as well as overhaul it through the use of digital and automated technology systems because transportation plays a fundamental role in fostering socio-economic growth and development.