N2.2trillion infrastructural road map for Nigeria… roads, railways seaports projects underway

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    New era dawning in Nigeria?

    The Federal Government will spend N2.2tn on the development of the transport sector over the next three years.

    The money will be used to build infrastructure for roads, railways, inland waterways, ports and airports across the country.

    This expenditure pattern is contained in a document on the “Federal Government’s Investment Plan for the Development of the Transport Sector,” a copy of which was obtained by our correspondent in Abuja, on Monday.

    According to the document, between 2011 and 2013, the Federal Government, in partnership with the private sector, intends to develop an intermodal transportation network, which will link rail, sea, air and road networks in strategic locations across the country.

    This, it said, was part of efforts to enhance the distribution of goods and services.

    The report stated, “The estimated total investment of the Federal Government in the transport sector between 2011 and 2013 is N2.216tn. The sub-sectors are roads, railways, inland waterways, ports and airport development. Investments in these sectors are strategic to national development.

    “The development of a world class infrastructure that will support other sectors of the economy, particularly the productive sector, is a necessary pre-condition for achieving Nigeria’s quest to be one of the 20 largest economies in the world by the year 2020.”

    It said that an efficient transport system would facilitate the movement of people and goods, reduce the cost of production and enhance global competiveness.

    In spite of the massive investment by the federal and state governments in the transport sector over the years, little improvement has been achieved as regards transport infrastructure.

    Currently, the sector is characterised by moribund rail system (with only a few locomotives and wagons in use), large sections of impassable inland waterways, inadequate port infrastructure, poor and badly maintained road networks, poor interconnectivity of all transport systems and poorly maintained airports.

    Road and air transport are the dominant modes of transportation in Nigeria, accounting for more than 98 per cent of the total traffic generated in the country. Although other modes of transportation, such as railway, could play a greater role, road transportation is expected to continue to dominate the transport landscape for many years to come.

    The Federal Government has, however, said that it will evolve a multi-modal integrated and sustainable transport system that will lay greater emphasis on rail and inland waterway transportation within the next three years.

    According to the investment report, the government will create an enabling environment for Public- Private Partnership by designing new policies, legislation and institutional framework to drive the growth and development of the sector.

    It said, “Despite the fact that rail transport is the cheapest means of transport for the haulage of goods and carriage of passengers over long distances, rail transport now accounts for less than one per cent of land transportation in the country.

    “Nigerian railways should be the lifeline of the Nigerian economy because of its potential for mass and long haulage of goods and passenger traffic.”

    In order to tackle the problems in the water transport sub-sector, the government said it would promote the development of the sector by eliminating major physical constraints.

    The report added, “The development of inland water transport will ease pressure on the over-congested road sector and enhance the mobility, welfare and development of many remote communities. This mode of transportation has been neglected in the past three decades due to inadequate investment.

    “Nigeria has 21 airports and some additional 62 airstrips. Many of the airports are in need of major repairs as the equipment in these airports are obsolete. Government will focus on the upgrade of facilities of the four international airports and develop a strategy and implementation plan for transferring the domestic airports to state governments or private ownership to enhance adequate maintenance and promote private sector participation.”

    From Emeka Ezekiel, Punch