The minister of Transportation, Rt Hon. Chibuike Amaechi has disclosed that the government of President Muhammadu Buhari is in the process of developing a national transportation master plan that will be implemented as a fulfilment for his campaign promises to diversify the national economy .
Speaking after an inspection tour of Murtala Muhammed International Airport, the General Aviation Terminal, GAT, the Total Radar Coverage of Nigeria, TRACON project and other airport facilities, Amaechi stated that the government will also be improving the non oil sector revenues, reduce dependence on oil revenues, develop the rural economy, reduce unemployment and urban drift.
He identified weak airlines and decaying infrastructure as two of the major problem mitigating against the growth of the aviation industry.
He disclosed further that the new airport terminal in Lagos, Port-Harcourt, Abuja and Kano would be completed by December 2016.
The minister added that the ministry of transportation in collaboration with relevant parastatals and agencies have drawn up short term plans that are currently being implemented of which the traveling public will take notice of the improvements.
He outlined plans for the aviation industry to include the expeditious completion of on going airports, remodeling projects at Lagos, Abuja, Kano and Port Harcourt and the decongestion of airports access roads among several others.
The minister said the new terminal in Lagos will generate additional 15 million passengers annually making a total of 30 million passengers yearly nationwide.
“The medium and long term plans will require significant investments to upgrade and expand infrastructures to meet current and future requirements. As a result of limited resources for capital projects development, government is exploring the possibility of private sector participation to towards the realization of the industries’ potentials”, the minister said
He stated further that the ministerial committee on the National Airline has submitted its report to the President which the government is studying carefully and will announce its decision in due course.
According to him, “Subsequently in accordance with the Nigerian Civil Aviation Security Program (NCASP) and International Aviation Organization (ICAO) annex 17, the Federal Government is looking to overhaul and streamline the security apparatus at the nations airports for a seamless and more effective security surveillance and enforcement. This will also improve facilitation and passenger experience.. The use of appropriate technology and customized training for security personnel will play a major role in this process. The purpose of all these measures is to work smarter in achieving stated goals and targets.”
He enjoined the operators and service providers to operate within the ambit of Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulations and the International Civil Aviation Organisation Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPS) or face the full wrath of the law and extant regulations.
He said this has become necessary as the country cannot afford any mishap, stressing that safety and security is non negotiable.
According to him: “The transportation sector holds the key to any economy and forms the basis of all socio-economic interactions. Like many other countries, Nigeria suffers the bane of inadequate transportation but perhaps worse than other countries. Nigeria’s huge population puts enormous pressure on a very poor transport infrastructure that bedevils the nation.”
The. Minister listed the problems of Nigerian transport system to include bad roads, inadequate fleet of busses and trucks; irregular and inadequate trains and airplanes services and congested ports.
In line with these, are physical problems such as the dearth of suitably trained transport managers and planners, capital restructuring bottlenecks, serious issues of institutional reforms and ineffective traffic regulations, Ameachi stated.