The federal government of Nigeria has concluded plans to disburse a sum of N10 billion to the nation’s road transport workers and operators, aimed at cushioning the effect of the recent COVID-19 lockdown on them.
The Minister of State for Transportation, Sen. Gbemisola Saraki, who made this known while receiving the delegation of Public Transport Owners of Nigeria Association (PTONA) in her Abuja office on Wednesday, said the fund was already domiciled at the Federal ministry of trade , Industry and investment and that the Ministry of Transportation was currently working on modalities for its disbursement.
Lead by the association’s president Isaac Uhunwagho, PTONA delegates, who made strong case for a financial palliative for their members, revealed that their visit to the minister was necessitated by the need to acquaint the federal government with the challenges of the road transport owners and operators, which was made worse by the recent COVID-19 lockdown.
PTONA president said, unlike the general motor parks, operators of which, he alleged found it easy to flout the lockdown rules, his members had to shut down throughout the period.
“During the lockdown,” he lamented, “PTONA members felt the impact of the lockdown the most, as their branded buses could not operate due to the ban on interstate travel, unlike the general motor parks, which did not comply with the ban, as their parks became a safe haven for flouting the ban, and they enjoyed black market transportation boom.
“Also, in spite of the fact that we are the major investors in the transportation sector, our companies are the prime target for state and local government authorities, who imposed on us taxes, levies and other ridiculous conditions.”
The PTONA president therefore solicited for financial palliatives for hiss members to prevent their businesses from folding up.
Responding, the minister, who acknowledged the fact that 90% of Nigerians travelled by road, assured the group ofthe federal government’s plan to soon initiate a master plan that would reform the road transport sector
On challenges the operators claim to face from states and local governments , the Minister promised to address the issue via the National transport Commission Forum as well as liaise with the Federal ministry of Works and Housing to concession some routes which, aiming at increasing government revenue.
©Copyright MOTORING WORLD
All rights reserved. Materials, photographs, illustrations and other digital content on this website, may not be reproduced, published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or in part without prior written permission from Motoring World International