The Federal Government has approved N10billion as a palliative for transport workers and operators.
By Faith Yahaya, Abuja
According to the Minister of State for Transportation, Sen. Gbemisola Saraki, the fund will help cushion the sufferings encountered by road transport workers and operators as a result of the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
She also noted that the fund is currently domiciled with the Federal Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Investment adding that her ministry was currently working on the modalities for its disbursement.
The Minister disclosed this during a courtesy visit by the President of Public Transport Owners of Nigeria Association (PTONA), Engr. Isaac Uhunwagho, and the association’s National Executive Committee and Trustees in Abuja.
This is contained in a statement signed by the Director of the Press of the ministry, Eric Ojiekwe.
Saraki, while stating that 90 percent of Nigerians travel by road, said that the federal government will soon initiate a master plan that will reform the sector.
On the challenges operators face from State governments and other stakeholders, she assured that she will discuss the issues through the National Transport Commissioners Forum.
The Minister also revealed that she is in talks with the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing on the concessions of some routes with the aim of increasing the government’s revenue.
She further urged them to avoid duplicity and formalize their structures in an organized manner for better engagements, with the ministry and other relevant agencies.
Earlier, Engr. Uhunwagho pleaded for COVID-19 financial palliatives for its members to prevent their businesses from folding up.
He explained that members of the association were the worst hit during the lockdown introduced by the federal government.
According to the President of PTONA, members of the association felt the impact of the lockdown the most as their branded buses could not operate due to the ban on interstate travel.
He also lamented that despite PTONA members being the major investors in the transportation sector, it is ironic that their companies are the prime target for state and local government authorities who impose taxes, levies, and other ridiculous conditions on their members.