After A Failed N16 Billion Transport Scheme, FG Rolls Out N25 Billion Scheme

PIC 15. SOME OF THE BUSES FOR THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT-ASSISTED PUBLIC MASS TRANSPORT SCHEME LAUNCHED BY PRESIDENT GOODLUCK JONATHAN IN ABUJA ON SUNDAY (8/1/12).


By Obiejesi Kingsley

Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Okechukwu Enelamah, on Tuesday announced that the federal government has set up a N25 billion revolving loan scheme to enable transport companies in the country purchase mass transit vehicles.

Enalamah said that the scheme would be administered through the Infrastructure Bank at zero percent interest rate.

He said this in Abuja on Tuesday at the opening of a two-day national workshop for chief executives of mass transit companies, organised by the National Automotive Design and Development Council in conjunction with the Nigerian Institute for Transport Technology, Zaria.

This is not the first time the federal government would roll out a transport scheme designed to support the local industry. A similar initiative in 2012 by the Goodluck Jonathan-led administration failed to yield any positive result, and instead led to a waste of public resources.

Over N16 billion of Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme, SURE-P, funds was released for the Public Mass Transit Revolving Fund, PMTF,  in 2012 to cushion the effect of the increase in pump price of fuel  and support local automotive industry.

The fund, just like this present initiative, was administered as a revolving loan by The Infrastructure Bank, TIB, and was given out in form of mass transit vehicles to 31 beneficiaries, mostly commercial transport operators.

A total of 1,179 vehicles were released to the beneficiaries under the scheme, with a repayment plan covering four years.

But as at May 2016, only two of the beneficiaries namely: ABC Transport PLC and Young Shall Grow Transport Limited have fully liquidated their loans. The others complained that the vehicles given to them were not durable, and that most of them packed up less than a year into the scheme. The vehicles they complained about were Hyundai and Innoson buses.

They blamed the Infrastructure Bank for not consulting them before taking the decision to supply them the vehicles.

Beneficiaries who could not pay back fully include: the Nigerian Union of Road Transport Workers, NURTW; National Association of Road Transport Owners, NARTO; Road Transport Employees Association of Nigeria, RTEAN; Greenline Bus; Global Ginikana, and Classic Link Express.

Enalamah said that the aim of the initiative was to boost the mass transit system in Nigeria as well as encourage patronage of local vehicle assembly plants.

“Government is determined to develop the automotive industry because of its extensive linkages, impact on job creation, technology transfer as well as foreign exchange savings and earnings.

“Many of the new assembly plants produce buses and mini-buses. I hereby call on all Nigerians to patronise the products of these assembly plants,” Enalamah said.

Also speaking at the workshop, Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, said that the mass transit sector has been faced with lots of challenges in recent times, despite being one of the major drivers of the country’s socio-economic development.






     

     

    “This workshop is, therefore, organized to appraise the mass transit perspective of the Nigeria Automotive Policy,” he said

    “It is a platform for stakeholders to meet and exchange ideas on the effective implementation of the policy and make recommendations for realising a sustainable mass transport agenda for Nigeria.

    Amaechi added that the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari is poised to address the challenges facing the transport sector and is willing to invest heavily in this sector.

    Stakeholders in the transport sector are of the view that unless government learns from the mistakes of the past, the new scheme may suffer the same fate

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