Former governor, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and Emir, Kano State, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, has advised the Federal Government to make it stringent for Nigerians to purchase second hand vehicles.
At a stakeholders’ workshop organised by the Federal Ministry of Transportation to tackle gaps in public transportation, the former governor of Central Bank of Nigeria said removing easy access to the poor in owning private vehicles will quickly solve the problem.
According to him, “few years ago, government did a tariff review on second hand vehicles and removed the tariff on vehicles older than 10 years, the idea was that, poor people in the country will get to own a car. But, is that the solution to the transportation system? Does allowing these cars that pollute into the system so that poor people can buy cars for N300.000 solve the problem or provide a public transport system that is efficient, that there will be no need to even own a car” he lamented.
The Emir noted that, car ownership is a thing of status in Nigeria. However, allowing old vehicles into the system rather compound the problem as these vehicles are currently a nuisance, causing serious pollution that is a health threat to the populace.
He said the solution to the transportation gap in the country is not to give people duty waivers to bring in old vehicles that will destroy the environment; it is actually to have an environmentally friendly way of providing public transportation.
“Rather than give low discount on old vehicles, it is better to provide incentive for mass transit owners and create student fare for the public.”
Sanusi said the importance of an efficient public transportation system cannot be over emphasized, adding that, access to public transport guarantees its effective usage. “Children in rural areas are out of school because there are no nearby schools and they have no access to affordable transport system. So access to public transportation imparts on girl- child education, it imparts on the health of the rural mother, and it imparts on the social responsibility that connotes the economy of human existence” explained the Emir.
He called for full private sector participation in the transport industry, but warned government from relinquishing ownership powers to any private sector.
“Privatization does not mean giving up your ownership, government has to own transportation infrastructures”.
“At a time when government resources are scarce, it is actually the time when government needs the private sector. Government alone will not be able to close the huge gap that exists in the country’s transport system” said Sanusi.
The Emir urged the Ministry of Transport to sensitize Nigerians on the benefits of using public transport,
“People need to understand that, if you have an efficient public transport, you will stop buying fuel, changing tyres, oil and going to service the car”
“The monies that people spend unnecessarily maintaining a car could go into a business that will generate income for the household, or invest into something that will bring back returns which will better the life of the individual, his or her family and the society at large” he concluded.