By Abayomi Adeshida
Transport Minister, mallam Yusuf Sulaiman has proposed a multi_modal transportation for the country which would become a major driver of economic growth as the country sets to achieve the Vision 202020.
The Minister made this proposal in his paper titled “understanding the spectrum of strategic partnership and investments for developing Nigeria’s integrated transport system”, during a Seminar on Doing Business in Nigeria delivered in Singapore.
Addressing the gathering of a Nigerian trade delegation and Investors from several sectors from Singapore, Suleiman stated that, ‘as we try to achieve vision 2020, it becomes imperative to have a multi_modal transportation.”
“Due to lack of committed efforts over the years, the nation’s roads had been stressed, because a nation where over 90 per cent of goods are moved by roads would result to high costs of transportation.
“Ity is unfortunate that Nigeria was ranked worst in costs of moving container among eight countries like Kenya, Venzuela, Brazil, South Africa, Indonesia, China and Indonesia.
“The masterplan for an integrated transport infrastructure is the plan of the Ministry of Tranportation for meeting Nigeria’s needs by year 2020. “For the rails, the standard gauge were ready, just as the Federal Government is embarking on the rehabilitation of the narrow gauge all over the country.
“Statistics show that railways had been neglected for several decades, as the 11.2 million passengers of railways as at 1964 had declined to 1.9 million in 2008. “In the marine Transportation sector, government has almost completed the dredging of the River Niger to put a stop to the chaotic water transportation system in the country,” he assured.
Suleiman also told the gathering that there were huge investment opportunties at the Inland Container Depots (ICDSs) to open up the hinterlands and facilitate imports and exports.
In his address, the Executive Secretary, Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC), Mustafa Bello said that Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) had grown by 7.2 per cent in the first half of 2010.
Speaking while delivering a paper,‘breaking the barriers to doing business and investing in Nigeria,’ Suleiman pointed out that the nation’s GDP growth rate between 2000 and 2008 was encouraging. The NIPC helmsman said the GDP appreciated due to several reforms put in place by government, “including the rule of law which government embraced as well as its zero tolerance for corruption.