Public transport owners call for more funding on infrastructure

Golfa francis, Abuja

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The Nigeria Association of Public Transport Owners says it is supporting the recent demand by the Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola for additional funding of two hundred and fifty-five point six billion naira, for roads in the country.

President of the Association, Mr Issac Uhunmwagbo during a visit on the Minister with his team said that the Association identified and appreciated the zeal with which construction and rehabilitation of roads is being carried out by the government.

Mr Uhunmwagbo however called on the government to pay more attention on major commercial roads such as Lagos Abuja road, Lagos Port-Harcourt road, Port-Hacout Abuja road and Abuja Kano road.

He emphasized on the Lagos Abuja road because it links the country’s commercial centre, Lagos with its capital, Abuja.

According to him, priority should be given to load restriction on the highways, adding that as the government spend colossal amount for roads, it should also protect them by placing limit of weight which vehicles can carry.

He said the Association submission is that if heavy duty trailers and tankers should be apportioned to move in the night and passengers should move in the daytime hour, both passengers and heavy duty vehicles will be getting to their destination faster and safer instead of being stuck in a traffic for long hour and the roads and bridges will enjoy much longer life-span.

Mr Uhunmwagbo strongly recommends that Nigeria should start working towards self sustaining system devoid of government funding in the long run.

He cited the biggest Transportation Corporations such as the London Transport Corporation which operate almost totally on their own funds from ticket fee and have done so for eighty years.

“If Nigeria will begin the process of the consumer pay on our roads transportation and infrastructure, it is possible that in ten years, construction and repairs roads can be totally funded from smart tolls on the users on the roads and the federal government does not have to supply funds for roads forever and ever,” Mr Uhunmwagbo added.

Responding, Mr Fashola said a total of 524 road projects were ongoing in the different geo-political zones in the country and the government is committed to completing the remaining portion of the Lagos Abuja route which was earlier delayed during the raining season.

He said his Ministry was focusing on roads that open up the economy and contribute to the ease of doing business.

Voice of Nigeria recall that Mr Fashola had earlier told Federal Executive Council that in order to accomplish the objective of completing the prioritized projects in scheduled time, an additional two hundred and fifty-five point six billion naira, would be needed to close the funding gap.
Omolayo.A