The Federal Government is to encourage the patronage of locally manufactured mass transit buses and has dedicated 15 billion naira, to be drawn from The Infrastructure Bank, Public Mass Transit Revolving Fund (PMTF), which is at zero percent interest for access by operators of mass transit services in the country for the specific purchase of these buses.
Vice President Mohammed Namadi Sambo stated this on Thursday, February 7, when he chaired the special meeting of the Special Committee on National Mass Transit Framework, which was held at the State House, Abuja.
The Vice President, who noted that the funds was meant specifically for the purchase of locally manufactured buses, emphasised the importance of access to cheap financing to encourage local manufacture of the mass transit buses, saying “there is a specific zero per cent interest rate money for the transporters to access but only to buy from local manufacturers.”
Arc Sambo, however directed the Ministry of Trade and Investment to meet with local automobile manufacturers to ascertain their true production capacity to meet demand by operators. He stated that the funds would also be extended to mass transit services in the country’s waterways and the railways.
The Vice President also set up a committee under the chairmanship of the Governor of Anambra State, Mr. Peter Obi to come up with terms and conditions for easy access to these funds by the operators. The Committee is to submit its report in two weeks.
Other members are the Chief Economic Adviser to the President, the Minister of Trade and Investment, Director General, National Automotive Council, the CBN Governor, Chairman Bankers Committee, the Bank of Infrastructure and the Presidents of NURTW and NARTO.
Vice President Sambo also announced that a stakeholders meeting will be convened specifically meant to encourage local patronage of automobiles manufactured in Nigeria, particularly high capacity buses. He noted on the need to patronise these automobile industries and promised to table the matter to the 36 State Governors and the FCT, during the National Economic Council meeting.
Meanwhile in their remarks members of the Committee all stressed the need to encourage local patronage of automobile industries in the country by operators of the Mass Transit Services including the three theirs of government. They noted that locally manufactured automobiles were more durable and more affordable. They identified patronage and access to financing as key to encouraging local manufacture of the mass transit buses.