The Problem Statement
Since independence in 1960, the Nigerian transport system has continued to wallow in crisis and confronted by myriads of problems even to the point of near-paralysis, It is being argued that the mobility crisis has been exacerbated by the fact that there is yet no clearly articulated policy for transport development in Nigeria, Such problems can be summarized to include the following among others:
- Poor and inadequate planning
- Weak intermodal coordination
- Insufficient public transport to cope with the ever-increasing demand for movement
- Urban traffic congestion
- Neglect of rural transport
- Safety and security challenges
- Environmental pollution
This position is anchored on the general consensus that there exists in the transport system today an imbalance between resource allocations to the various modes, gross inadequacy of existing infrastructural facilities, and the misalignment between the objectives of transport parastatals, and operators, and the material and organizational resources for them. These, no doubt, are fundamental issues that a national policy should strive to address and resolve. It can therefore be concluded that the persistent inefficiencies in the Nigerian transport system may be due to, or attributable to policy inconsistencies, defects, and weaknesses which have resulted in piece-meal and uncoordinated transport program planning and implementation.
The Policy Solution
Transport policy forms the basis for the planning and direction of growth of the transport system and the extent to which the planning and provision of transport provide appropriate solutions. The basic goals of the national transport policy are focused on sustainable development of the road and railway infrastructure of national and international importance, improvement of the transport safety, encouragement of maritime and inland waterway navigation, integration of national transport system, the achievement of balance and development of links between different transport modes.
The National Transport Policy plays an important role in infrastructure, vehicle, operation, planning, air, Maritime, Rail, Road, Pipelines, and Inland waterways. The objective places emphasis on modal growth and development through increased funding and structural reorganization, Safety, and environmental quality are initiatives for all modes. All these were meant to address problems identified as hindering the operational efficiency of the transport system. The policy is to promote coordination, development, sources of funding, intermodal approach to freight transport, and reorganization of the road transport industry. It also provides an evaluation of the country’s transport policy initiatives in order to understand the extent to which they were fashioned to address Nigeria’s mobility crisis. A major challenge facing transport development in the country today has to do with the implementation of policy recommendations.
NIGAC Constructive Position/Take
Today, the government is taking a holistic approach to rebuilding the Nation’s Transport infrastructural facilities and improving its service delivery capacity through a reform process, aimed at introducing market economy in order to attract private sector investment and initiative in a true Public-Private – Partnership (PPP) arrangement. Deregulation is now the global practice that the nation has adopted and must pursue. The current reforms of government especially the privatization and commercialization of major public transport enterprises must be supported by a sound national transport policy.
Also, Nigeria’s current vision and policy framework for transportation acknowledge the country’s unique mobility challenge as a major force that will shape the economy and society, Nigerian policymakers would need to support more policy-based researches and empirical studies in policy formulation, design, and implementation strategies to deal with modern challenges.