– reiterates the need for government to show sufficient interest in the management of the transport sector in the Covid-19 pandemic era
The Senator representing Anambra Central Senatorial District and the Chairman Senate committee on Science and Technology, Senator Uche Ekwunife on Tuesday joined other participants from around the world in a virtual conference to discuss the response to the challenges of urban transportation in the Covid-19 pandemic era, and the opportunities for the African continent.
The conference, organized by the Climate Parliament and co-sponsored by the Pan-African Parliament presented a veritable platform for participants to share their views on how the African continent can respond to the challenges of urban transportation as countries ease lockdown measures put in place in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Contributing to the virtual roundtable discussion, Senator Ekwunife noted that while about 57% of transportation in Nigeria is by road, the sector contributed about 2.49% to Nigeria’s nominal GDP in the 3rd quarter of 2019. She stated that the gains made through the sector in 2019 have been eroded by the current restriction on movements due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Senator suggested that as countries consider easing the restriction on movements and restarting the road transport sector, there is need for government to begin to show sufficient interest in the management of the sector to ensure that citizens who use public transportation are adequately protected.
According to Senator Ekwunife, measures such as disinfection of terminals bus stops and parks, disinfection of vehicles before and after trips, compulsory use of face mask by all passengers and drivers, reduction of people on each row to make for physical distance and special enlightenment of transporters at terminals should be put in place to ensure that the sector does not contribute to the spread of the disease.
She further urged governments to keep a close watch over the health, safety and environmental issues in the transport sector, as the sector, if not well managed, can make nonsense of the lockdown the world have been through in the last few months. She stated the need for Government at all levels to come up with financial stimulus to assist the transport sector to cushion the effect of readjustment in their entire operations.
Finally, the Senator called for country-specific policies in tandem with the social and economic realities of participating countries. She stated her commitment to drive the discussion in Nigeria’s parliament for an effective response to urban transportation in the Covid-19 pandemic era.
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