7 February 2013

Nigeria: FG Earmarks N15 Billion for Operators of Mass-Transit Buses

The Federal Government has set aside N15 billion as Public Mass Transit Revolving Fund (PMTF) to be drawn from the Infrastructure Bank.

Vice President Namadi Sambo made this known on Thursday during a special meeting of the Special Committee on National Mass Transit Framework at the State House, Abuja.

He said the fund, which was at zero per cent interest, was meant to encourage the patronage of locally manufactured Mass-Transit Buses by the operators.

He emphasised the importance of access to cheap financing to encourage local manufacture of the Mass-Transit buses.

"There is a specific zero per cent interest rate money for the transporters to access but only to buy from local manufacturers," Sambo said.

Sambo, however, directed the Ministry of Trade and Investment to meet with local automobile manufactures to ascertain their true production capacity to meet the demand by operators.

He said that the funds would also be extended to mass transit service in the country's waterways and the railways.

The vice president also set up a committee under the chairmanship of Gov. Peter Obi of Anambra, to come up with terms and conditions for easy access to the 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.

Sambo also announced that a stakeholders meeting would be convened, specifically to encourage local patronage of automobiles manufactured in Nigeria, particularly high capacity buses.

He stressed the need for State Governments and other stakeholders to always patronise local automobile industries in the country.

In their various 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 Service.

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 Mass Transit Buses.

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