‘Bad Transport Network To Slow AfCFTA’s Implementation’

‘Bad Transport Network To Slow AfCFTA’s Implementation’

‘Bad Transport Network To Slow AfCFTA's Implementation' …C0NTINUE READING HERE >>>

Stakeholders in the transportation industry have said bad transport networks will slow down implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) in the country, thereby emphasising the necessity of promptly implementing a comprehensive transportation policy within the nation.

They have also underscored that the success of African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), in which is a participant, is contingent upon the establishment of a robust transportation infrastructure.

This was said at the 63rd colloquium put together by the Centre for Values in Leadership (CVL), held at Victoria Island, , with a topic: transportation as the anchor of the economy.

Professor of Transportation and Logistics, School of Transport and Logistics, LASU, Prof. Odewumi Samuel summed it up, saying, a lack of transport policy in the country is a major challenge that is affecting the economy. 

According to him, “We have no transport policy in this country. For instance, the national transport policy has been in preparation for more than 30 years, and we have never been able to have one pronounced. 

“The road is an orphan in this country. Water has an authority which is NIWA, Rail has authority, air has authority. And all of these contribute less than 5 per cent of our national mobility. The road is contributing more than 90 per cent, and yet it is the only mode that has no authority to manage it. Does that make sense? 

“People don't know the effect of transportation at all. I normally say it this way: transportation is not just one of the sectors, as no other sector can function well without it. Without transportation, essential activities such as commuting to school, transporting materials to factories, accessing medical facilities, and attending important events like seminars would be impossible. In essence, transportation serves as the lifeblood that sustains the intricate network of socio-economic activities.”

Group executive chairman, Chicason Group, Alexander Chika Okafor, believes that, without transportation, it would never be possible for a country to excel in economic activities.

“A good transport system will facilitate trading, even in agriculture, because when you produce your product, you need transport to move it to the market, and if you don't have a good transport system, before it gets to the urban market, you lose the product. So there's nothing we can do without a good transportation system.

“And that is why AfCFTA cannot work without a good transport network. Most of the time, to transport goods within Africa, you need to enroute to other European countries before getting to your final destination in the African country, which costs a lot,” he stressed.

The director general of the Nigeria Chamber of Shipping, Vivian Chiezie-Azubuike, emphasised the imperative of integrating various modes of transportation, even as logistics and supply chain management are fundamental components of transportation. 

She said, when discussing trade, logistics and supply chain management are inextricably linked, adding the, if the water produced doesn't get to the final consumers, then the aim of manufacturing the water is defeated ‘and if the manufacturer cannot churn out more manufactured water because sales are low, transportation plays a huge part, and that's where logistics come in.'

“Moving goods efficiently from the port to their final destination is challenging. The cost of producing goods is significantly impacted by logistics and supply chain operations, particularly freight management. The expense of moving goods within Nigeria is notably high due to the lack of integrated interconnectivity in the transportation system.

“Water transportation is indeed cost-effective, especially for a maritime nation like Nigeria. The underutilization of waterways is a missed opportunity that can only be rectified through a national transportation policy to ensure a cohesive approach.

Given Nigeria's strategic location globally and its potential as a transportation hub under the AfCFTA, it is imperative to improve connectivity within the country and across borders. Failure to do so risks ceding control of the transportation sector to smaller nations participating in regional trade agreements,” she pointed out.

Editor in chief, Transport Day Media, Frank Kintum, articulated that Nigeria as a country is privileged to have the resources that make it possible to deploy all modes of transportation, including land, air, water, and pipelines.

Presently, the country has operational land and rail transport systems, as well as functioning waterways and airways. However, the primary obstacle lies in the lack of successful integration of these modes of transportation.

General manager, Lagos State Waterways Authority (LASWA), Oluwamilola Emmanuel, speaking on what Lagos State is doing to integrate the transportation system, said, “initially, all the modes were being developed in isolation, and that's why you saw that roads were obviously being developed, plans for rail have always existed, and of course, water has been existing, even though at a very minimal rate.

“So, it was very critical that what the Ministry of Transportation decided to do now was to ensure that this integration happens. However, before this integration happens, we need to assess all of these different modes and we now find out what is not allowing them to integrate,” Emmanuel stressed.

 

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