By Josmat Jerry
At first it was a virus that challenged only China which has now ravaged the world in what could be seen as the greatest threat to human race. In all diverse sphere of life ranging from the political entity, economic world, technological formalities, agriculture context, transportation, education and down to the religion entity, the evil hand of this pandemic has been greatly felt. Over 180 countries globally have experience this great ordeal with confirmed cases summing up to over 4 million, recoveries closing to 1.5 million and over 200,000 deaths.
Ever seen the Coronavirus pandemic has struck the world, various strategic measures have been implemented with lockdowns and other preventive preparations. It is very much clear to see that the whole world has been on a stand still as a result of the stagnant flow of daily activities. There have been a rise in the rate of unemployment in a report by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) which stressed that a sum of 100 billion dollars is needed to save the whole world and that Africa in particular needs help.
Furthermore, Nigeria too has not fared better with the onset of the virus in the country as the number of cases increases exponentially. In a bid to flatten the curve, the federal government has put down different strategic measures including the closure of religious places and schools nationwide, social distancing, curfews, compulsory use of face masks and the rest. These measures, however, have caused inconvenience to the hard scrabbled citizens.
Additionally, responses by governments and organizations all over the world have also affected our way of life and that of the world transportation systems. The rate at which these impacts has hit the world is unprecedented, especially because the different modes of transport (airlines, railways, maritime, private and public transport systems, pipelines) have all witnessed huge fall of patronage that has affected economies worldwide.
Transportation is an essential service needed globally to convey passengers, goods and services with their safety as the main objective in delivery of goods with quality services, and this has been a major goal for the government to ensure everyone working in the sector, and those using it are very much safe and secure. Transportation remains the one industry that keeps all other elements as well as the entire system in constant motion and it is impossible to run a system where transportation is highly neglected. Its importance cannot be overemphasized.
However, its contribution to Nigeria’s GDP (Gross Domestic Product) increases to $720.241million in Q3 of 2019 from $642.927million in Q2 of 2019 and also contributed 2.49% to nominal GDP in Q1 2019, an increase from 1.85% recorded in the corresponding period of 2018 higher than 2.05% recorded in Q4 of 2018. Also checking through its BOP (Balance of Payment) statistics, transport services was 27.63 as at 2018. Its highest value over the past years was 80.89 in 1980, with its highest value in 1989 which was 2.88.
In the economic world, transportation enhances and provides the time, space, quality and satisfaction of goods. It boosts the formation of a wider variety of various patterns of human activities, promotes socio-economic integration, national unity, stimulating the sense of togetherness and good understanding in a culturally diverse society like Nigeria. It therefore occupies a very strategic position in modern day life is often described as that part of economic activity that is concerned with increasing human satisfaction by changing the geographical location of goods, people and services. It is the root upon which all other services are variously arranged.
Due to the poor state of the transportation system which has not been well regulated and monitored; coronavirus has further created a huge gap in the sector. Some of the problems include; poor transport infrastructure, lack of modern transport policies, lack of well-trained personnel, lack of modern day technological system, etc.
The problems of transportation sector in the nation is riddled with challenges before the Covid-19 outbreak, and with the presence of COVID-19, the problems have further escalated to a point whereby government needs to start thinking and drawing out plans to curb this issue. They must act fast because of the need for adequate supply of medical equipment, food, impromptu materials and other essential materials needed to keep the lives of people and the economy in a safe condition.
The transport industry can be more efficient even in this pandemic if the government does the following: enacting and formulating of modern policies, encouragement of professionalism, proper monitoring of duties and activities, government getting involving in the process of the development, restructuring and revaluation of the entire transport system, implementation of modern technology and communication systems in driving the sector and the creation of a group equipped with sound minds who will always think on every way forward to develop more ways that can make the sector more effective and efficient and also a one that can compete with the rest of the universe.