How the Transport Sector is Driving Nigeria’s Economy

The transport sector in Nigeria has faced a myriad of challenges in recent times, with an increase in diesel prices following the Russian-Ukrainian war driving up the cost of goods and services. Traffic congestion continues to rob individuals of productive hours, poor road conditions and recurring kidnappings along various transit routes keep many travelers anxious, among other challenges.

Yet addressing these identified challenges, and many others, holds the key to unlocking the transport sector’s many unrealized values, experts say.

Samuel Odewumi, Professor and former Dean of the School of Transport and Logistics at Lagos State University, explained that transport is a derived demand and when the transport sector freezes, the whole economic life of the country stops, because it’s like the blood circulation of the economy.

The transportation industry is a critical hub for economic growth, with infrastructure improvements boosting trade and accelerating global investment opportunities aimed at boosting the economy.

Because it involves the process of collecting, assembling, moving and distributing products, services and people from one region to another in a timely, safe and secure manner, the sector is described as essential to the national growth.

Due to the high demand for items needed to get to places during the 1973 oil boom, the transportation industry boomed, allowing the sector to explore the many options available.

Without transportation, the movement of people and products to their final destinations will not be possible, making it critical to Nigeria’s economic success. Rail and pipeline transport, river transport, air transport and road transport are all part of the transport sector.

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For the sector to deliver optimally in Nigeria, Odewunmi explained that the starting point is a transport plan and without it it is like embarking on a journey without a map. Transport doesn’t work properly if it’s not organized efficiently, so the government should produce a project that everyone can grasp.

Overall, the transport sector contracted by 16.02% in the first quarter of 2022, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), compared to a growth rate of -9.25% during the same period of last year and a growth of 23.14% in the previous quarter. . However, the rail transport sub-sector performed the best in Q1’2022, with a growth of 124.54% against a contraction of -5.62% in Q1’2021 and 39.10% in the previous quarter (Q4 2021).

The air transport sector also grew by 57.37% in the first quarter of 2022, compared to growth of 4.85% in the first quarter of 2021 and 63.61% in the last quarter of 2021.

The road transport sector shrank by 21.88% in the first quarter of 2022, compared to a contraction of -10.44 in the same period of 2021, and water transport saw a growth of 14, 82% in the first quarter of 2022, compared to a decline of -4.73% in the first quarter of 2021.

The road network represents more than 90% of the country’s transport, but no authority is responsible for it. Rail and water have authorities watching over them, but not road, making it an orphan but generating enough money to improve the whole transport system, according to Odewumi.

The sector lacks an effective structure with modern regulations, technology and staff with the skills and knowledge to effectively manage current challenges and plan for the future.

According to Fetus Okotie, CEO of Bernard Hall Nigeria Limited and transport specialist, in an article, he said that although transport is the “gateway” to the Nigerian economy, it is very important for the leaders of the sector to constantly innovate and evolve sector strategies and infrastructure development to stimulate trade and investment opportunities.

Transportation must be coordinated to be efficient and provide the greatest benefit. It is necessary to integrate all types of transport. There must be multimodal integration; the water must be connected to the road, and the road must be properly connected to the train, Odewumi said.

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