The federal government has approved a N10 billion intervention fund for transport workers and operators across the nation.
The minister of state transportation, Gbemisola Saraki who made the disclosure, said, the funds would help cushion the sufferings encountered by road transport workers and operators, as a result of COVID-19 pandemic.
The minister who made this known when the Public Transport Owners of Nigeria Association (PTONA) paid her a courtesy visit in Abuja explained that the ministry of transport was currently working on the modalities for the disbursement of the funds, which is domiciled with the Federal Ministry of Trade, Industry and Investment.
While appreciating the fact that 90% of Nigerians travel by road, Saraki stated that the FG will soon initiate a master plan that will reform the sector. She, therefore, solicited the buy-in of all stakeholders.
Reacting to challenges operators face from State governments and other stakeholders, the Minister gave the assurance that she will discuss the issues through the National Transport Commissioners Forum.
She urged PTONA to avoid duplicity and formalize their structures in an organized manner for better engagements, with the ministry and other relevant agencies.
On his part , the National President of PTONA, Isaac Uhunwagho who led the delegation said, stated that their visit is in respect challenges being faced by the body and also to appreciate her efforts towards the chalenges PTONA has being facing since February, 2020 and the cooperation and protection which the Ministry is now ready to provide for public transportation in Nigeria.
He pleaded for COVID-19 financial palliatives for her members to prevent their businesses from folding up.
Isaac while clarifying on the need for this disclosed that PTONA members felt the impact of the lockdown the most as their branded buses could not operate due to the ban on interstate travel.
The PTONA president said the general motor parks did not comply with the ban as their parks became a safe haven for flouting the ban and as a result enjoyed black market transportation boom.
This was as he further lamented that despite PTONA members being the major investors in the transportation sector, it is ironical that their companies are the prime target for state and local government authorities who impose taxes, levies and other ridiculous conditions on their members while according to him, they leave the filthy general motor parks and target us.