The Minister of Transportation, Mr. Chibuike Amaechi, Monday, asserted that successful implementation of the goals of African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), was dependent on a robust transportation system.
Amaechi made the assertion in Abuja at the commencement of a two-day International Conference entitled, “The Role of Transportation on African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA)”, organised by the Nigerian Institute of Transport Technology (NITT).
“Transportation and the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) are like Siamese twins as; they are intricately linked. Transportation provides the vehicle through which the major objective of AfCFTA thrives; that is, creating a single continental market for goods and services with free movement of businesses, persons and investments, promoting regional and continental integration, market access and resources reallocation across sectors and countries.
“The Transportation Sector is the most critical in implementing Trade Facilitation, enhancing regional integration and key to every other AfCFTA Protocol. Hence, the Nigerian Government has embarked on huge transport infrastructure investment across the Country to ensure efficiency in the Transportation Sector.
“These interventions include massive construction of roads, rail lines with access roads, inland water ports, seaports, new terminals in existing ports, dry ports with access to rail and roads, Inland Container Depots/Freights all geared towards building a modern and efficient transportation system that guarantees sustainable socio-economic development of Nigeria, regional integration and trade liberalization,” he said.
In his remarks, the Director-General and Chief Executive of Nigerian Institute of Transport Technology (NITT), Zaria, Dr. Bayero Salih Farah, said that there was an urgent need to explore the option of private participation in the funding of transportation infrastructure development.
Farah explained that such partnership was one of the ways of addressing the current transport infrastructure deficit in the country.
“This International Conference comes on the heels of the NITT/FMOT National Conference on Sustainable Transport Infrastructure Development Financing in Nigeria held about three months ago, which discussed paradigm shift in transport infrastructure financing. I opined that there is an urgent need to explore the option of private participation in the funding of transportation infrastructure development.
“This is one way of addressing the current transport infrastructure deficit in the country. Let us remember that this is necessary, if we are to succeed in making the country Africa’s transportation hub,” he said.
He noted further that an effective transport system would promote competitiveness, market accessibility and economic growth.
“It is high time Nigeria started taking advantage of being the largest economy in Africa. I say with a sense of pride that we are beginning to see positive signs on the horizon. For instance, some African highways connected to Nigeria are being expanded and/or constructed. Massive railway projects across the country (and even up to Niger Republic), deep sea port at Lagos free trade zone, Lekki, and various road constructions and rehabilitations are critically important steps in the right direction,” Farah stated.