The government’s focus on transportation makes the economy soar. Transport infrastructure in Nigeria has been given a successful and powerful makeover during the short time President Buhari’s administration has been in office.
Minister of Transport, Hon. Rotimi Amaechi has emphasised the need for teamwork in order to ensure efficiency while reiterating his Ministry’s ample capacity for creating much needed job opportunities. The establishment and expansion of dry ports, aviation, rail works and maritime is successfully and expeditiously opening up opportunities and allowing for the facilitation of trade within Nigeria, and the world.
What projects and policies are being implemented in the transport sector?
Quite a lot of activities are happening in the area of transportation. In the past, people used to see the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) as an avenue to making money and a private concern. We’ve returned to NIMASA with the necessary responsibilities, which are to regulate the shipping administration and ensure security in the waterways. Before awarding contracts, we’ve been carrying out reforms in this industry.
We must provide kudos and attribute the success to the new director general of NIMASA. These reforms are ongoing in the Nigerian Port Authority (NPA). The government is also focusing more on railways and we’re almost there. We’ve commenced construction of the Lagos-Ibadan Railway line (180km) and we’ve completed the Kaduna-Abuja Track (180/160 km).
We are negotiating with Chinese investors to complete the construction from Ibadan to Kano, which would give us 1,500km of railway up to Kano from Lagos. We’re also liaising with the China EXIM Bank to do the Lagos-Calabar Rail. The airport at Kaduna has been completed and we’re happy to commence activities. We’re mediating with General Electric (GE) for the concession of the narrow gauge rail network across the country. That narrow gauge will run through the Kaduna Airport.
We have completed a dry port in Jos and the Port Harcourt-Maiduguri Narrow Gauge Line will also pass through it. We’re also currently constructing four new tenders – one at Abuja Airport, one in Kano airport, one in Port Harcourt Airport and one at the International Wing at Lagos Airport.
Transportation plays a very important role to develop a country. You can’t really boost development without having connectivity.
It’s a challenging job. Transportation is logistics. If you get it wrong, you get the economy into big problems. The government recognises that and that’s why they are funding transportation.
The aviation sector really is a boost to the economy, how are you encouraging profitability?
If you look at our aviation sector, it’s in the hands of the private sector; the government just regulates it. Now, the government is focusing on concessioning the airports, just like it is concessioning the narrow gauge. Apart from that the government wants to fix the airport, just as we fixed the Abuja airport. We are just two years into our term. We need time and we need patience.
Could you please tell us a little bit about your leadership style and how to achieve success?
This is difficult to answer, although I do know that I need to be efficient. I have a responsibility to help with the economy. I have a duty to ensure that I create jobs; I create jobs through the agencies and departments that I run. I don’t work alone, I work with a team. Our achievements have been getting everybody on board with their own tasks and a date to deliver.