The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) acknowledges and responds to the recent pronouncement by President Ahmed Bola Tinubu regarding a significant discount on luxury bus travel and free train services across the country during the upcoming holiday season.
His initiative, aimed at providing relief to citizens grappling with the escalating cost of transportation, especially during the festive period, demonstrates a commendable commitment to addressing the challenges faced by the business community and the general populace.
The LCCI recognizes the efforts of the President and the Federal Government in working with stakeholders to ensure the smooth implementation of this initiative. The reduction of transportation costs along 22 interstate routes and the provision of free train services during the holiday season will undoubtedly ease the financial burden on Nigerians and encourage intra-country travel.
The business community stands to benefit significantly from this intervention. Lower transportation costs translate to reduced operational expenses for businesses engaged in interstate commerce, thereby contributing to improved profitability and economic growth.
The LCCI applauds the collaborative approach taken by the Federal Government, involving various Ministries such as Solid Minerals, Information, and Transportation, to engage with transporters, road transport unions, and the Nigerian Railway Corporation in delivering this timely initiative. The assurance of safety measures during the holiday period, as articulated by the government, further underscores its commitment to the well-being of citizens.
While the LCCI believes that it will have a positive impact on both the business community and the broader Nigerian society, there are certain issues and considerations to be mindful of:
- Implementing a significant reduction in bus fares and providing free train rides requires meticulous planning and coordination. Any logistical challenges in managing the increased volume of travellers could impact the effectiveness of the initiative.
- The 50% cost reduction for buses and free train rides may have financial implications for transport operators. It is essential to ensure that the initiative is economically viable for both the government and private stakeholders.
- Clear communication about the initiative should be disseminated widely to and sensitize the public. Lack of awareness or understanding among the public could lead to confusion or dissatisfaction.
While the initiative has the noble intention of easing economic burdens, careful planning, communication, and consideration of potential challenges are vital to its success and positive impact on the intended beneficiaries. LCCI calls on all levels of Government, Federal, State, and Local, to contribute with more vigor to the sustainable solution, including – gas-fired and electric vehicles.
LCCI encourages all stakeholders to work seamlessly to ensure its success. We also appreciate the government’s acknowledgment that this is not a one-off initiative, and we look forward to similar interventions as deemed necessary to support businesses and alleviate economic challenges.
DR CHINYERE ALMONA, FCA
LAGOS CHAMBER OF COMMERCE & INDUSTRY
20 DECEMBER 2023