FG APPROVES N10 BN TO TRANSPORT OPERATORS AS SURVIVAL FUND
The Federal Government has approved a sum of N10 billion to the transport sector to cushion the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on road transport workers and operators.
It has also promised to initiate a master plan that would improve the operation of the sector.
The Minister of State for Transportation, Gbemisola Saraki, disclosed this in a statement on Wednesday in Abuja, when she received a delegation of the Public Transport Owners of Nigeria Association (PTONA), led by its president, Isaac Uhunwagho.
Gbemisola Saraki with the delegation. Twitter@MinTransportNG
Saraki told the delegation that the fund was domiciled at the Federal Ministry of Trade, Industry and Investment, adding that the Ministry of Transportation was currently working on the modalities for the disbursement of the ‘survival fund’.
According to the Minister, 90 per cent of Nigerians travel by road which makes it inevitable for the Federal Government to initiate a master plan that would improve the operation of the sector.
While addressing some of the issues faced by the operators, Saraki sought for the assistance of stakeholders to help in that regard.
On challenges operators faced from State Governments and other stakeholders, the Minister gave the assurance that she would discuss the issues through the National Transport Commissioners Forum.
Saraki added that she was working in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing on the concessioning of some routes which would increase Government revenue.
She urged the association to program its structure in line with the ministry and other relevant agencies.
While responding to this, PTONA Nationa President, Isaac Uhunwagho thanked the Minister for addressing the challenges faced by the sector since the emergence of coronavirus in February.
Uhunwagho, who commended the Ministry of Transport over the development, said the main reason for the visit was to present the challenges faces by the association
The PTONA president appealed to the Federal Government to provide her members with palliatives for her members to prevent their businesses from folding up.
He said, “PTONA members felt the impact of the lockdown the most as their branded buses could not operate due to the ban on interstate travel.”
Uhunwagho also lamented over exorbitant taxes and levies imposed on the association in spite of the fact that PTONA members were major investors in the transportation sector.
He hereby urged the minister to look into the association’s plights, stating that the challenges among others, necessitated the courtesy visit to her.