BusinessDay
NigeriaDecides2023

How transport sector stimulate Nigeria’s economy

The transportation sector in Nigeria has been bedevilled by a myriad of challenges in recent times, with an increase in diesel prices as a result of the Russia-Ukraine war, leading to an increase in the cost of goods and services. Traffic congestions continue to rob individuals of productive hours, poor road conditions, and recurring kidnappings along various transit routes keep many travellers in anxiety, among other challenges.

Yet, addressing these identified challenges, and many others hold the key to unlocking the many unrealised values of the transport sector, experts say.

Samuel Odewumi, a professor and immediate past dean of Lagos State University’s School of Transport and Logistics, explained that transportation is a derived demand and that when the transportation sector freezes, the entire economic life of the country comes to a halt, as it is like the bloodstream for the economy.

The transportation industry is a critical hub for economic growth, with improvements in infrastructure boosting commerce and accelerating global investment opportunities aimed at boosting the economy.

Because it entails the process of collecting, assembling, moving and distributing commodities, services, and people from one area to another in a timely, safe, and secure manner, the sector is described as critical to national growth.

Because of the strong demand for items needed to get to locations during the 1973 oil boom, the transportation industry boomed, allowing the sector to explore the many options available.

Without transportation, movement of persons and products to their final destinations will not be possible, making it critical to Nigeria’s economic success. Rail and pipeline transportation, river transportation, air transportation, and road transportation are all part of the transportation sector.

Read also: Transport industry faces further squeeze

To get the sector delivering optimally in Nigeria, Odewunmi explained that the starting point is with a transportation plan and that without one, it’s like embarking on a voyage without a map. Transport does not flow properly if it is not effectively organized, so the government should produce a draft that everyone can key into.

Generally, the transport sector contracted by 16.02 percent in the first quarter of 2022, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), from a -9.25 percent growth rate in the same period of last year, and 23.14 percent growth in the previous quarter. However, the Rail transport sub-sector performed the most in Q1’2022, growing 124.54 percent compared with a contraction of -5.62 percent in Q1’2021 and a 39.10 percent in the preceding quarter (Q4 2021).

The Air transport sector also grew by 57.37 percent in the first quarter of 2022 compared with a growth of 4.85 percent in Q1’21 and 63.61 percent in the last quarter of 2021.

The road transport sector, declined by 21.88 percent in the first quarter of 2022, from -10.44 contraction in the same period of 2021, and water transport saw a growth of 14.82 percent in Q1’22 when compared with a decline of -4.73 percent in the first quarter of 2021.

The road network accounts for more than 90 percent of transportation in the country, yet there is no authority in charge of it. Rail and water have authorities superintending them, but the road does not, making it an orphan yet generates enough money to enhance the entire transportation system, according to Odewumi.

The sector lacks an effective structure with modern regulations, technology, and staff with the necessary skills and knowledge to effectively manage present difficulties and plan for the future.

According to Fetus Okotie, CEO of Bernard Hall Nigeria Limited and a transport specialist, in an article, he stated that, 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 and infrastructure development to boost trade and investment opportunities.

Transportation must be coordinated in order to be efficient and provide the greatest advantage. There is a requirement to integrate all types of transportation. There must be multimodal integration; the water must be connected to the road, and the road must be appropriately connected to the train, Odewumi said.

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