Private Transport Companies of Nigeria (APTCON), has alleged of an evil
plot to frustrate road transport operators by denying them the proposed
stimulus plan being contemplated by the Nigerian government.
on Saturday at an interview granted select newsmen, Audu Gaddo,
Spokesman of the association, described as evil and conspiratorial a
situation where senior government officials appear to be deliberately
pursuing the interest of only one arm of the transport sector as the
country groans under the COVID-19 pandemic.
Gaddo spoke against
the backdrop of reports quoting Nigeria’s Finance Ministry as saying
that the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration had concluded
plans to effect a special stimulus package for the aviation industry.
a web conference last Monday, the Minister of State for Budget and
National Planning, Prince Clem Agba, had said, “Like you know, a lot of
plans are parked and this is causing almost N21 billion (loss) on a
monthly basis. We are looking at how to provide some form of bailout
support to ensure that the industry doesn’t die.”
Saturday, Gaddo said, among others, that the Minister’s utterance showed
a very poor understanding of the economy and portends great danger for
“We have noted with total displeasure government’s
dangerous plans to surreptitiously bail out the aviation sector without
any consideration for the road transport sector that contributes more to
the GDP and employs a greater number of Nigerians.
thought is devious to say the least. Our sector is the one experiencing
the worst distress with losses estimated at over N50 billion monthly.
Indeed, our members are gearing up for some of the worst job losses
Nigeria’s economy will ever know,” he said.
Gaddo added, “With
APTCON members remaining law-abiding as the nation-wide lockdown lasts,
revenue projections have fallen to zero while some unstructured
operators are daily bribing their way through government barricades to
sabotage the COVID-19 protocols.
“It is unacceptable that the
government is sidelining road transporters while contemplating pouring
more money into a sector that only a few years ago received over
N150billion in government support, and squandered same with most of the
airlines now in AMCON’s receivership.
if there are no plans to strangulate APTCON members, and other
organised road transporters, why has the Minister of Transport, Rotimi
Amaechi, stayed suspiciously quiet while his colleague in the aviation
ministry, Hadi Sirika, has been everywhere pursuing the interest of its
stakeholders and even re-echoing the arguments of Prince Clem Agba.”
the Budget and Planning Minister of mischief, Gaddo wondered how a
sector that guarantees the mobility of more than 95% of Nigerian masses,
and noted for its contributions to the country’s tax net, could be so
shabbily regarded or treated.
APTCON had, last week, described
government’s plan to treat the aviation sector with favouritism as a
total misplacement of priority. It also lamented the exclusion of road
transporters from the various committees being set up to contain the
global pandemic and safely return the economy on the path of growth.
hoping that Agba was not speaking for the Finance Minster, Zainab
Ahmed, it, once again, called on President Muhammadu Buhari to ensure
that the right thing was done as the nation perfects plans to implement a
N2 trillion stimulus plan.