Tuesday, December 31, 2019 / 12:16 PM / Festus
Okotie / Header Image Credit: Nigerian Eye
An efficient transportation system and infrastructure is one of the most fundamental structures for any nation's economic progress and it is not a hidden fact that the Nigerian nation has great and diverse transport potentials yet to be fully tapped into and explored.
Although Nigeria transport sector have its own share of challenges and low points, it can still succeed through better strategy, restructuring, hiring the services of experienced technocrats with background in transportation to help manage the sector effectively.
We as a nation cannot continue to be applying the same old formula and techniques and expect to achieve a better result. This is one of the most challenging problems facing the growth of the sector in Nigeria. Although we cannot overemphasize the importance of the transport sector than call it the 'lifeline' of a nation, it has been proven by experts that upgrading transport infrastructures helps add speed and efficiency to a nation's economy and also add good physical connectivity in the urban and rural areas that helps fast track economic growth.
Furthermore on the above, with a sense of pride we can confidently say Nigeria is the largest nation in Africa both economically and population; with a gross domestic product (GDP) of $397.30 billion in 2018 and a population of over 200 million people, including being the world's sixth largest oil producer and largest in Africa with proven oil and gas reserves of 37 billion barrels and 192 trillion cubic feet and over 300 square kilometres of arable land and significant deposits of largely untapped minerals, it is however sad to see that Nigeria has one of the poorest transportation systems and infrastructures globally.
Domestic transportation is a key driver for economic growth, because it is a means of connecting urban and rural dwellers together and to gain physical access to goods, services and activities they need for their livelihoods and well-being through a variety of transportation modes such as land, maritime, air, rail, and pipeline. Poor infrastructural systems in any nation transport sector can cause delays in the arrival of goods and services to its destination which can ultimately affect a nation's economy and so urgent steps must be taken to address the challenges affecting the growth of the sector.
Nigeria's vision to be among the world's top 20 economies come 2020 might not be a reality because the transport sector has not been given the top priority needed. The vision and plans might be unrealistic because of inadequate transport infrastructures, security concerns such as Boko Haram insurgency in the nation, high rate of kidnapping, inconsistent power and electricity supply, slow business development as a result of high corruption rate, unequal income distribution resulting in high level of poverty because most of the population still live below the poverty line of $1.90 a day, which is one of the reasons for vandalization of oil pipelines causing high levels of devastating environmental impacts which has been affecting the transport system and networks.
Developments in any society can be defined as improving the living condition and welfare of a society through appropriate social, political and economic conditions because the expected outcomes bring about quantitative and qualitative improvements in human capital, such as reasonable income, good educational system as well as modern infrastructures such as efficient transport systems, constant power supply, good communication systems and effective logistics relies on quality infrastructures and managerial expertise because of the importance of the transport sector to the economy of nations which is a very vital structure for development.
Relating the quantity and quality of transport infrastructure of any society and the level of economic development which is clearly visible as the reason why high density transport infrastructures and high connected networks are responsible for high levels of society development. It is worth mentioning that when transport systems are efficient, it provides great economic and social opportunities which results in high positive multipliers effects such as better accessibility to markets, increase in employment opportunities, additional investments and a buoyant economy. Additionally, when transportation systems are deficient in terms of capacity or reliability ,it impacts negatively on economic cost such as reduced or missed opportunities and lower quality of life.
It is also worthy to state that in every society and nation globally, economic opportunities are directly proportional to the mobility of the people, freight, information and communication systems available, which further highlights the importance of why Nigerian government should take urgent steps to address the challenges affecting the growth of the transport sector and also work out modalities of engaging policy makers, planners, professionals and experts to develop strategies which will help boost and upgrade the transport sector.
Finally, injecting new blood of highly technical and experienced experts in the sector would also go a long way in adding value to both the short and long term vision and objectives of the sector and the nation at large.This will help strengthen our nation's transportation growth projections and also help build greater capacities to reposition, transform and upgrade Nigerian transport sector.