Lagos — Minister of Transportation Rotimi Amaechi yesterday declared that the private sector players cannot extricate themselves from the failings of the Federal Government in delivering an efficient transportation sector to the country.
The minister spoke during a Government Meets Business forum organized by the Institute of Directors of Nigeria (IoD) with the theme "Transportation: A Vehicle for Development" in Lagos.
Amaechi, who was the guest speaker, said private sector players in Nigeria are 99 per cent dependant on government, saying they are not reliable as investors. He said government had in the past provided funds for the private sector but such funds were either misused or diverted.
"A Nigerian took N32bn or N35bn to buy planes. He didn't buy one. He left the country and set up a bank outside the country. Government has done nothing to him.
This country perplexes me. The private sector cannot claim to be saints. The slow pace of government in the transportation sector is so huge on the private sector," he said.
He added that "The private sector in Nigeria doesn't like to come with their own money whether they don't have money or they don't want to come and talk with their own money. They like to take government money and invest in government property.
"Just as we are blaming the government, we should also transfer the blame to the private sector. Government has a lot potentials for the private sector to come and invest."
Amaechi said the government has opened up the transportation sector completely to the private sector, noting that the aviation and infrastructures at the Sea Port had been privatised.
According to him, the only area yet to be privatised is the railway. However he said talks are currently ongoing with the General Electric to take over the railway sector, disclosing that the Federal Executive Council (FEC) had last week approved the concession plan.
He said the proposed concession, when completed would leave the government playing only regulatory functions in the entire transportation sector.
He noted that with greater activities in the transportation sector, Nigeria is positioned to fully come out of recession.
The Director General of Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Dakuku Peterside, said inconsistencies and unpredictability of government policies and programmes had dissuaded genuine investors from participating in the transportation system.
Other key transport stakeholders at the meeting included Managing Director of Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC), Engr. Fidet Okhiria, among others.