By Theodore Opara
Due to wastage, arising from improper storage of foods, Nigeria is losing a whopping sum of N3.7 trillion annually.
Chairman, Governing Council, Nigerian Institute of Transport Technology, NIIT, Mr. John Onojeharho, who disclosed the figure while speaking on the topic: “Cold Chain Logistics” at the 8th Nigeria Annual Transport Lecture in Lagos, on Friday, said the country would have saved such amount if proper food storage facility was in place.
He said “Nigeria is ranked 1 per cent in terms of cold chain management. The market is huge and if properly tapped, we can save $9 billion annually by avoiding food wastage through proper storage.”
Mr Onojeharho also advised that if the 15 million metric tonnes of perishable goods wasted annually were well preserved, inflation will drop and there would be drastic improvements in the economy.
Informing that Nigeria ranks 110 out of 160 countries globally in the performance index of logistics, Onojeharho lamented that a lot of food products are lost due to bad storage system, advising that such anomaly should be addressed as food security is part of human existence.
According to Onojeharho, Nigeria is lagging behind in terms of cold chain management, just as he appealed for urgent need for stakeholders to invest in the cold chain sector to assist the diversification efforts of the present government.
The transport expert attributed poor cold chain logistics to lack of good road infrastructure, continuity of the cold supply chain, high capital investment, power supply amongst others.
He, however, opined that efficient logistics are critical to economic growth and that when foods are properly preserved, it will bring about reduced wastage, increase income, create employment and add value to the products.
Also speaking, Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi commended Transport Day Newspaper, stating that the government is leveraging the transport sector as a backbone to industrialise and diversify Nigeria economy.
The Minister who was represented by Executive Director, Federal Ministry of Transportation, Mr Agbaji Francis said these efforts are evident of the rail subsector where 859 km of standard gauge rail lines have been constructed and commissioned for commercial use in the last 5 years.
He assured that the Ministry is making efforts of implementing the 5 deliverables signed at the inception of the current administration of President Buhari-led government and is also striving to leave a significant legacy in the execution of its priority.
In his presentation, titled: “Improving Nigeria Transportation System; The Way Forward,” Corp Marshall of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Dr Boboye Oyeyemi averred that transportation is critical for economic growth, but advised for proper utilisation of 5 modes of transport including road, air, water, rail and pipeline.
Dr. Oyeyemi said: “No matter what we do; without transportation, we cannot move. Globally transportation is the biggest industry and it has continued to grow.”
Commending the present government on improvements in the transportation sector, The Corps Marshal added “the pressure is too much on the road. Fatality has been on the high. We use to have an average of 100 lives lost on the roads weekly. Speed is a major aspect that we need to address”.
In his opening remarks, Publisher of Transport Day Newspaper, Mr. Frank Kintum, expressed joy for the massive turnout.
Kintum said that the lecture which is in its 8th edition has helped to brainstorm on contemporary issues affecting the transportation industry.
The 2021 /8th edition of the Nigeria Annual Transport Lecture, Exhibition and Awards, with the theme: “Improving Nigeria Transportation System; The Way Forward” was well attended by stakeholders in the nation’s transport sector.
The Director-General of National Automotive Design and Development (NADDC), Mr Jelani Aliyu; Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Women Affairs, Amb Anthonia Ekpa; Director-General/Chief Executive Officer of Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN), Dr. Dikko Umaru Radda represented by Mr. Yinka Fisher; National President, Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs /Agents (ANLCA), Mr Tony Iju Nwabunike, Executive Secretary, Lubricants Producers Association of Nigeria (LUBON), among others were present.