‘Why goverment should demand user charges for road rehabilitation’
Professor Samuel Odewumi of the School of Transport, Lagos State University (LASU), has urged the government to emphasise user charges as a means of augmenting the budgetary allocation for road maintenance and rehabilitation.
Odewumi said user taxes, when properly designed, could lead to a more rational use of road capacity and even become a technique of capacity rationing through price mechanisms.
Speaking at the just concluded 16th National Council on Transportation in Kano, Odewumi said user charges are based on the argument that those who incur costs should be responsible for paying for them.
Speaking on the theme: ‘Sustainable Transportation: A panacea for Nigeria’s development’, the university don said transportation planning and its forecasting rest not only on its own assumptions and components, but there are other key relevant issues that are directly linked to transportation demands.
“The key factor is population, its growth, structure, demographic characteristics and projections to 2050 for the purpose of this presentation. Nigeria’s birth rate is approximately 39 per 1,000 persons, while death rate is 13 per 1000 persons. The natural growth rate remains as high as 2.6 per cent.”
However, he advocated the resuscitation of the National Transportation Policy, saying all issues relating to transportation cannot be perfected in one draft.
According to him, it is by operating the policy that appropriate amendments could be conceptualised and effected. He said transportation issues are constantly changing and ideally should be reviewed within a five-year interval, adding that attempting a most perfect policy is a recipe for not ever having a policy document.
Besides, the Federal Government has directed the Nigerian Institute of Transport Technology (NITT), Zaria to step up training of road transport operators to check their excesses with a view to reducing carnage in the sector.
Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Transportation, Dr. Magdalene Ajani, gave this directive when she led members of the House of Representatives, House Committee on Land Transport at the National Assembly, commissioners and permanent secretaries of transportation ministries in the 36 States of the Federation on an assessment tour of NITT, Kano Outreach Centre, located in Dawakin Kudu area of the state.
She expressed optimism that with the facilities on ground, the institute is poised not only to play its statutory role but on the path of becoming self-sufficient as well as being a revenue generating agency.
Welcoming the delegation, the Director General, NITT, Bayero Salih-Farah, disclosed that the Kano centre is one amongst others located in Gombe, Ebonyi, Lagos, Abuja, Katsina, Benue and Ekiti (near completion), to provide training, acquisition of skills, professional training in the transport sector, as well as other opportunities for technical learning.