Transportation is a major driver of economic development in any economy. There are several means of transportation in the world but more have been explored in developed countries than in developing countries.
Some of the alternatives that have been explored are electric trains some of which are as fast as air planes. However in Nigeria, road transportation still remains the major means of transportation for goods and people.
However, there are challenges facing this important as sector of our economy and we will look at how to improve the sector in this article.
Read Also: History of Transportation in Nigeria
Ways of Improving Transportation in Nigeria:
1. Make fuel available
One of the main challenges facing transportation in Nigeria is the price of fuel which has remained steadily high due to scarcity which is sometimes due to hoarding by dealers.
Black marketers also increase the price in addition to the normal pump price thus making it more expensive. As a result, fuel has become an expensive commodity not many can afford and for drivers that can afford, they increase the cost of transportation thus making it difficult for ordinary people to afford it.
In order to improve transportation in Nigeria, fuel must be made available and affordable for road transport workers to ease movement of people, goods and services.
2. Improving the State of Roads
A great challenge to transportation in Nigeria is the state of our roads. Some federal roads are so terrible that it can take twelve hours to drive from one state to another when you can drive the same distance in five hours under normal conditions.
For instance Jalingo-Numan-Gombe road where drivers prefer to drive in farmlands instead of the road because of its terrible nature. Another one is from the boundary of Niger and Kwara state to Illorin.
This road can be so bad in the rainy season that trucks get stuck in it for days making it very difficult and sometimes impossible for other vehicles to pass.
To improve transportation, the government must look into this matter and improve the condition of roads to ease movement in the country through rehabilitation and where necessary construction of new roads.
Read Also: 10 Problems of Transportation in Nigeria
3. Reducing the Stress of Vehicle Importation
The present government and customs service have made importation of cars very stressful and this has led to the increase in the prices of these cars due to high taxes in the name of trying to deal with politicians importing exotic cars.
Cars are the main means of transportation and delaying their importation isn’t going to make it better if we cannot manufacture for ourselves.
Therefore importers of vehicles should be encouraged by cutting down custom duties and easing the process of clearing at the borders. This will help to improve transportation in Nigeria.
4. Safety on the Highways
Once upon a time in Nigeria one could drive to any part of the country at any time of day or night. Alas! Those days are long gone.
There are armed robbers on almost every highway in the country thus discouraging movement on those highways. The government can improve transportation by ensuring the safety of passengers and drivers on our high ways.
Anti-crime patrols should be embarked on regularly by security agents to reduce incidences of crime to allow free flow of traffic.
5. Government mass transit schemes
As I mentioned earlier transportation cost is really high due to fuel scarcity. The government can subsidize transportation cost through mass transit schemes which have been implemented by some states.
However, the services provided by the mass transit vehicles are so terrible that most people prefer to pay extra money for individual vehicles. I personally prefer to travel in smaller vehicles on long journeys because the condition of government buses is terrible.
Some of the problems are overload, dirty interiors and break down of the vehicles on the way. These problems cost more than the extra fare one pays to enjoy a smooth ride.
Government at federal, state and local levels should purchase vehicles that will be used for public transportation at subsidized rates and the vehicles should be well maintained and laws against overload be taken seriously to encourage patronage by passengers. This will ease transportation in the country especially during festive periods.
6. Make air Travel Functional
The air transport system in Nigeria is a mess. In fact it is safer to travel by road than by air in Nigeria. This is why there is so much pressure on roads as most people travel by cars be it commercial or personal.
The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority should look into making air transport safer and more affordable to enhance movement of people, goods and services in the country for economic development to take place.
7. Develop the Inland Water Ways
There are many water bodies in Nigeria that can be used for transportation but most of them have not been explored.
Exploring this option will ensure that adequate transportation is provided for all and pressure will be reduced on roads. This will also reduce the cost of transportation as road transport has become really expensive.
8. More Trains Should be Made Available
It is a great thing that some of the railways in Nigeria are now functional, though I only know of the one running from Abuja to Kaduna.
More of these railways need to be constructed and revamped and more trains procured. This will greatly improve transportation because trains are the cheapest means of transportation and they take many passengers at a time.
Read Also: The Role of Transportation in a Supply Chain
9. Check Corruption
Government may be providing funds for projects to improve transportation in the country but corrupt officials may embezzle such funds. As a result, the transport sector has suffered many problems up to today.
Checking corruption to ensure funds released for projects are used to complete such projects will help to improve the transportation sector.
10. Explore Other Means of Transportation
Most people in developed countries use other means of transportation such as bicycles for short distances. However in Nigeria, one is considered to be poor if he tries that but it is not true.
You could save some money just riding on a bicycle within town instead of spending money on transportation especially in this recession. This will reduce traffic hold ups on roads and save time for commuters.
Transportation is a very important part of our economic development and should be taken seriously. Developing this sector will lead to development of many other sectors and so the government should make efforts to improve it so that the economy can grow into what we want it to be.
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