By Dirisu Yakubu
President of National Freight Hauliers Association, NFHA, Chief Jackson Bent, Sunday, said Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, has proven his worth as an outstanding minister to be reckoned with.
Bent who stated this in Abuja told newsmen that Amaechi has done what no minister before him did by bringing stakeholders in the industry together for the first time to forge a common front.
“This administration of the minister (Amaechi) is the best we have ever seen in transportation sector. I have many reasons to say this. Since he came, there has been a complete revival in the industry, especially now following the fall of world economies.
“In Nigeria, what we have been depending on solely is petroleum. We knew what the exchange of dollar used to be and what it is now. Therefore, the country has nowhere to turn to rather than the transport industry, mining and other areas to be able to sustain our economy and the development of the nation.
“The coming of this minister is the greatest thing that happened in this industry. When he came, the first thing he did was to call a general stakeholders forum to reposition the transportation industry.”
On the Kano-Maradi rail line, Bent said it is a real plus to the country because the establishment of the train to Niger Republic would boost Nigeria’s economy especially in the area of commerce.
According to him, most of the products in Niger stores are imported from France, stating that for the rail line to exist, Niger Republic would have gotten approval from France which means most of the product imported from Nigeria to Niger will possibly get to France.
“Most of the food items in Niger are imported from France and other places. So if Nigerian rail can open, all the trading aspects of it will boost the economy so much that you will be surprised that even the people in Kano, Sokoto, Katsina, and others will export their produce to Niger. They have irrigation farms with a whole lot of produce in those areas.
“What I am saying is that, for the fact that they even agreed to execute the project, is a plus for Nigeria. A plus in the sense that instead of them depending on oversea materials and produce especially food, that can now be gotten from Nigeria.
“Trading is going to be two ways: even if the bulk will come from Nigeria, it’s for our own interest. We are opening market for our local products.
“Niger Republic has oil now. But the good news for Nigeria is that they don’t have a port to transport it to Europe. It means they have to pass through Nigeria, now that the country is looking for the alternative to develop her economy,” he added.