Worried by their inability to cope with the challenges of providing adequate services to the citizenry, transport operators across the country have urged the federal government to urgently disburse the N10 billion COVID-19 palliative fund to their members to prevent imminent collapse of the sector.
This is as the N10b COVID-19 bailout as intervention fund to operators in the Nigeria’s auto industry which is expected to rescue ailing companies and firms to reposition the sector seems to be shrouded in controversy.
Findings revealed that the huge fund earmarked as bailout for the transport operators is causing ripples as some operators are alleging that they were side-lined in the disbursement. It was learned that among the operators who have been asked to submit documents for verification were the interstate luxury bus operators, under the aegis of the Public Transport Owners of Nigeria Association, PTONA.
Vanguard learned that having lost billions of naira to the 98-day lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the transporters had expected that they would deploy the palliative to beef up their business but up till today, they are yet to benefit.
In a letter dated March 28, 2021 addressed to the Minister of State for Transportation, Federal Ministry of Transportation and signed by the Deputy President, Emeka Mamah, the group pleaded the verification of two key issues as it concerned the fund.
First, PITONA pleaded to the Minister to correct apparent confusion in treating the N10 billion COVID-19 palliative fund approved for Road Transporters as MSME Survival fund domiciled in the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment.
The group also asked for immediate disbursement of the fund to their members to prevent imminent collapse of interstate passenger transport companies in Nigeria.
According to PITONA, efforts to secure an appointment to pay a working visit to the Minister to discuss issues relating to the delay in disbursing the fund to road transporters was not granted. Read more