AFCON

Investment in Transportation, key to AfCFTA objectives – Minister

Shiktra Shalangwa

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Nigeria’s Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi, says that investment in transportation infrastructure is key to realising the major objectives of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

Mr Amaechi, stated this at the International Conference on the Role of Transportation in the implementation of AfCFTA, organised by the National Institute of Transport Technology (NITT) in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

According to him, transportation is essential for economic and social development as it provides vital links between centres of production and markets.

“Transportation aids in facilitating the flow of goods and movement of people along corridors, link the different points of activities, thereby promoting regional and national integration and development.

The Minister noted that the sector was critical in implementing trade facilitation, enhancing regional integration and key to every other AfCFTA Protocol.

While reiterating the commitment of President Muhammadu Buhari’s led administration towards providing an efficient transport system in the country, Mr Amaechi said the government was embarking on huge transport infrastructure investment across the Country.

He however noted that the greatest challenge facing infrastructural development in Africa was the maintenance of the infrastructure for sustainable service delivery.

”The transportation Sector is blessed with a myriad of potentials and opportunities for development. 

”The current Administration will not leave any stone unturned in its efforts to transform the sector for the benefits of Nigerian Citizens. 

”I am optimistic that my sister, Distinguished Sen. Gbemisola Saraki, champion of the Transportation Infrastructure and Services Readiness Workstream on AfCFTA will mobilise all the human and material resources required to implement all the identified initiatives/action steps to ensure Nigeria taps into the opportunities of AfCFTA,” Amaechi added.

The Minister of State for Transportation, Gbemisola Saraki while Speaking on the Readiness of Nigerian Transport and Logistics Sector for the Implementation of AfCFTA, reiterated the government’s effort to ensure efficient transportation.

Saraki said a lot still needed to be done for the sector and expressed optimism that the discussions at the conference would go a long way towards charting implementable strategies for AfCFTA.

”The Nigerian Transportation Infrastructure is a promising potential for AfCFTA implementation and we hope that the outcome of this Conference will give better perspective on what more we can do as a Sector to tap into the potentials of AfCFTA

”I commend the Leadership of NITT for initiating programmes with themes that are apt and needed for times such as these,” she said.

For his part, the NITT Council Chairperman, Olorogun John, also reiterated the need for connectivity between trade and transportation.

Dr Bayero Salih-Farah, the Director-General, NITT, said transportation was the gateway to economic growth and prosperity and every other sector depends on transportation for growth and progress.

As such, it is heartwarming that the current administration under the able leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari has realised the critical role of transportation, and is working assiduously to make the Nigerian transport system among the best in Africa.

”Transport infrastructure is widely seen as an enabling industry that facilitates national, regional and international integration and trade. 

”An effective transport system promotes competitiveness, market accessibility and economic growth. It is high time Nigeria started taking advantage of being the largest economy in Africa.

”It is argued that intra-African trade stands at about 15pee cent, an abysmal fact attributable to unnecessary bottlenecks and infrastructure deficit. 

”Therefore, there is an urgent need for massive investment in connectivity and transportation infrastructure, because transportation is the link between all the factors of production. 

”I assure you that the Institute is ever ready to carry out its mandate as the think tank for the industry by coming up with issues that will address the problems of the Transport and Logistics industry.

”Finally, I want to appeal to every participant to feel free to contribute meaningfully to discussions on the conference theme, aimed at enriching recommendations and resolutions,Salih-Farah said.

Also, Mr Francis Anatogu, National Action Committee Secretary, AfCFTA, represented by Mrs Benita Gyang, said efficient transport and logistics was important for AfCFTA to be implemented.

”To realise the goals of AfCFTA, to create a single market for goods and services is not possible without transportation. Transportation is an enabler. It is key to the realisation of AfCFTA.”

 

PIAK

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