THE Federal Government has revealed it has provided over N300 million out of the N500 million required from the Ministry of Transportation to kick-start the implementation of Inter-State Transit Scheme (ITS) with the NEXIM bank.
Disclosing this in Abuja on Tuesday, the Director Road Transport and Mass Transit Administration under the ministry of transportation, Anthonia Ekpa said the scheme is targeted at encouraging the flow of goods between neighbouring countries legally and also to create jobs for Nigerian.
She said “as I speak now, Nigeria has released over N300 million to NEXIM bank between 2015 and now. The irony for us which is a pleasant one is the fact that N500M was what was required by NEXIM bank in 1992 and NEXIM bank is still willing in 2017 to still collect from the ministry the same amount to kick-start the project. It is a huge project and we are glad because we see it as one of the job creation factors for the sector.”
“The Interstate Road Transit Scheme is a protocol of ECOWAS that Nigeria acceded to as far back as the 80’s and the mechanism is invaluable in the sense that it will be provided for the sector especially In the areas involved in importation and exportation of goods and utilization of roads for passage of goods.”
“The project offers to such areas or people, an insurance mechanism so that the goods that are transited from Nigeria to land logged countries along the ECOWAS corridors are insured considering the Nigeria ports have been boycotted by transporters and people prefer to go through Cotonou or Ghana and you find a situation where people from nearby countries who would have had access to Nigerian ports, do not, because Nigerian ports were not made compliant with this ECOWAS protocol” Ekpa stated.
The Director explained further that, “So we are happy to say that within the 2 years of this administration, the Minister with the support of the permanent secretary had been able to release some part of the required funds to the guarantor. The federal government appointed the NEXIM bank as a guarantor for this project as far back as the 90’s.”
“The federal government through the ministry of transportation was supposed to give NEXIM bank N500 million in 1992. The protocol was reached in 1982 but in 1992 Nigeria appointed NEXIM bank and the bank was supposed to have been given N500 million to kick-start the insurance policy for goods transiting the Nigeria corridor to the ECOWAS sub-region but, the ministry did not, so it is now that we make efforts to implement the policy and ensure that our own sector meets the international best practises and standards.”
Anthonia Ekpa explained further that ” ECOWAS has completed the joint border setup between Nigeria and Benin Republic on the Nigeria side at Seme, we are going to have the Nigeria Immigration, customs another agencies that are responsible for migration management along the corridors and the value will offer a system whereby goods and trucks and vehicles that are going from Nigeria to other ECOWAS countries along the Benin –Abidjan-Lagos corridor are scanned so that people do not bring in either goods contra ban goods.”
“So it is a good checkpoint for monitoring transit between Nigeria and its bordering countries and the aspiration of the government and ECOWAS is that, that corridor will minimise the hold ups that we have been having in that corridor and all the checkpoints and all manner of things that are creating impediment over the proper utilization of that corridor” she concluded.
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