Effects of COVID-19 on transportation sector

Transportation, as we all know, is the movement of humans, animals and goods from one location to another in order to do business or go about our daily activities. It can also be defined as a particular movement of an organism or things from a point to another.

Transportation enables trade between people which is essential for the development of civilisation. The world is now an easy place to be, due to an effective means of transportation that can be used at all times.

Before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, Nigeria allocated ₦123 billion for the Ministry of Transportation to oversee the revamping of the infrastructure under it. This consists of fixing installation of motorable roads, airways, canals, pipelines and terminals. The third highest allocation in the Nigerian 2020 appropriation was envisioned to direct the affairs of the transportation industry in the country – be it to rebuild the falling and failing industry –  or to reclaim the glory of the nation.

It is no longer news that COVID-19 has changed a lot in our system; many people have been forced to adopt some unusual measures towards work approach. The pandemic has resulted in many people working from home. Land borders, airports and seaways across the country are under lock as the coronavirus continues to ravage the world, thereby wasting profits that should have trickled down to the business of transportation.

The industry would have contributed immensely to the country’s GDP if not for the outbreak of the pandemic. Nevertheless, the Nigerian government should play a vital role in revamping the dying transportation industry. It is an undisputed fact that our day to day activities can only be prosperous with good networks of the movement of our goods and commodities from one location to another.

According to the 2018 Global Status Report on Road Safety, the World Health Organisation (WHO) estimated road traffic fatalities in Nigeria at 39,802, while the estimated rate per 100,000 deaths stood at 21.4 with a boom of a rare occurrence of air crash coupled with occasional cases of waterways accidents.

Nigeria, a country with a class in road accident mortality rates should be up and doing in ensuring motorable roads as the highest population of the country still considers roads their fastest and affordable means of transportation.

With the drastic reduction of fleets, staff cuts and accelerated closure of unprofitable subsidiaries, the airline industry is at doom aftermath Covid-19, no thanks to the decline in traffic that reached 50% at the first quarter of 2020 and 90% in April consecutively. While aircraft remain on the ground, fixed cost continues to run which would leave companies with no option than to lay off workers in order to have room to pay for debts incurred during the outbreak of the pandemic.

As many airline employees will lose their jobs to the pandemic, Nigeria’s government should be ready with positive means to contain hunger and chaos expected to follow the tragedy, without leaving behind the effects of Covid-19 on transport workers which are mainly people from the middle class in the society. There have been a series of complaints from different angles as commercial drivers are calling on the government to find a solution to the misfortune facing the industry.

In preparation for life after the pandemic, governments at all levels should take the construction of roads, link bridges and dredges important now that the world is immobile.

 Abdwahab Tajudeen, abdwahabtajudeen@gmail.com




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