Infrastructure is critical to manufacturers. A good transport infrastructure helps to reduce logistics costs and supports efficient delivery of products from factory to the market.
Babatunde Fashola, minister for power, works and housing, said at a recent training session in Lagos that infrastructure was beyond buildings and constructions, being one of the parameters that defined the status of a nation.
Nigeria’s manufacturers complain severely about the challenges faced in the transport sector, ranging from increased logistics costs, high cost of production and common cases of losses, especially in incidences of accidents and thefts.
Babatunde Ruwase, president of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), recently said infrastructure deficit was creating problems for business owners, adding that a functional and modern rail network would facilitate movement of people and goods while reducing the cost of transportation and total cost of production.
According to the Nigeria infrastructure report for 2017, budgetary allocations for the transport sector was N19.5 billion in 2015, N424.27 billion and N365.1 billion in 2016 and 2017 respectively.
At the just concluded Manufacturing &Equipment Expo, Francis Meshioye, executive director, JMG Limited, argued that adequate transport infrastructure would lead to high employment rate, faster and competitive market reach, high income level, as well as wider reach and connectivity.
He advised the government to make huge investments in the transport sector as it would reflect on the other sectors of the economy.
Mansur Ahmed, president, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), said transport was critical to the manufacturing value chain. He said elimination of transport deficit would reduce cost of delivery of products by 30 to 40 percent, adding that use of rail transport would eliminate overdependence on road transport.
Paul Gbededo, group managing director, Flour Mills of Nigeria, said private companies could form collaboration and support government to provide infrastructure. He added that seaports were underutilised while rails should be well maintained and structured for use.