Logistics: Nigeria losing relevance to smaller African countries ― Utomi

Leading economist, Professor Pat Utomi, has stated that due to lack of efficient transport infrastructures, Nigeria is losing relevance to smaller African countries.

Speaking on Wednesday in Abuja at the Day 2 of the ongoing National Transportation Summit being put together by the Chartered Institute Of Transport Administration Nigeria (CIOTA), Professor Pat Utomi stated that logistic is the heart of development.

According to Prof Utomi, “Logistics is so strategic that most development is based on the transport sector. China’s dramatic rise is down to the fact that they were able to turn around its logistics sector.

“Africa will not make the progress that it is destined to make unless Nigeria leads the flying geese. What transformed South East Asia economy? One country, Singapore began to get it right, and others looked across the border and joined in the development stride. Before you know it, Malaysia, Thailand and others had their economy transformed.

“Nigeria is central to African development, but unfortunately, because we have not done something right in our transport sector, small countries are beginning to lead the way on the continent.

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“I was in Addis Ababa last week and saw that there is light rail there. The road network in Addis Ababa is flourishing, not the place we used to struggle to come to in the ’70s. We need to see a lot of investment coming into Nigeria’s transport infrastructure.

“I was in Tokyo for a conference and at the end of the programme, the participants were all talking about building plants in Ghana. Why Ghana when Nigeria ought to be the leader in the sub-region?

“People don’t go to a country where property rights are threatened. In Nigeria, Governor’s are revoking C-of-O’s that were approved by their predecessors.

We are talking of properties that people have invested billions of Naira to build revoked due to political considerations. People don’t come to countries like that.”

Also speaking earlier at the event, a former Acting Vice-Chancellor of the Federal University of Technology, Owerri, Professor Innocent Ogwude attributed vehicular congestion on Nigerian roads to a preponderance of narrow roads, inadequate land usage and pattern of city structures.

In the words of Professor Ogwude, “Nigeria has low vehicular ownership and thus, vehicular congestion ought not to have occurred in Nigeria until the year 2025.

“For now, Nigeria’s transportation mode is vehicle dominated, and a lot of people are moving to the urban sectors of the country, so as a result of this, there is a great need for careful planning of urban transportation.

“In Nigeria, car ownership is very low. According to research, vehicle ownership in Nigeria is about 0.6%. Car ownership in Nigeria as at today is 0.5%. Nigeria is expected to reach a saturation level for vehicle ownership in 2025 when ownership of vehicles will get to 0.73. Saturation level means a stage where the numbers of vehicles in a city becomes more than the capacity of roads in that city.

“However, despite the low vehicle ownership in Nigeria, our roads are already congested. Why is Nigeria having congestion on her roads? The reason is because Nigerian roads are narrow in urban areas.

“Also, the structures of our cities is another reason why our roads are already congested despite low vehicle ownership. Another issue is the condition of land use in Nigeria. Our land usage are not dispersed. Our land usage are concentrated in specific places, thereby forcing people to move towards such places en masse.

“It is only Abuja that seems to be exempted from the above-listed problems that have made our roads to become saturated.”


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