Transportation subsidy: Over 163,000 Nigerians benefited– Minister
Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dr Dele Alake has disclosed that more than 160,000 passengers have so far benefited from the President Bola Tinubu’s End-of-Year Transportation Subsidy Programme.
Alake who is heading the Committee on the Implementation provided this update in a progress report unveiled recently in Lagos.
The initiative, initiated by President Tinubu on December 19, involved the provision of free transportation on Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) routes.
Additionally, the President sanctioned a 50% subsidy on transportation fares for passengers travelling on 30 routes serviced by bus operators under the Association of Luxury Bus Owners of Nigeria (ALBON).
Assessing the overall performance of the programme, Alake emphasised its considerable success.
He highlighted that the transportation rebate represented President Tinubu’s care and consideration for the welfare of Nigerians, showcasing the president’s deep regard for the citizens.
“Between December 21 and December 31, 2023, figures available show that the NRC conveyed 71,000 passengers, while buses operating under the auspices of ALBON carried 77,122 passengers.
“Also, 652 bus trips originating from Oshodi Interchange in Lagos carried 15,766. This means no fewer than 163,878 passengers benefited from the Presidential Yuletide Transportation Subsidy in the first 10 days of the programme.
“Secondly, while train-bound passengers enjoyed total free service, road travellers paid only 50 per cent of the fares.
“The subsidies depended on the fares, ranging from a saving of N21,500 on a Lagos-Abuja road trip fare of N43,000 to N15,000 on a Lagos-Onisha bus fare of N30,000,” he said.
Alake said the programme was a demonstration of the President’s empathy and love for fellow Nigerians who were culturally and emotionally committed to travelling to their hometowns at the end of the year.
The minister said the programme was also aimed at easing the financial burden of the citizens, who he said were facing some economic challenges due to the global pandemic and other internal factors.
He added that the committee took some remedial measures to address some identified gaps in the execution of the programme, such as adding two more routes and engaging other bus-owning stakeholders.
Alake said the committee also engaged the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), the state-owned transport companies, and the Private Transport Operators Association (PTONA), as well as collaborated and sensitised Nigerians through media platforms.
The minister sought the cooperation of the passengers and the bus companies to manage the return of passengers from their locations to their bases until Thursday, January 4, as the programme was still ongoing.
He said the Yuletide transportation programme sought to meet the masses of Nigerians at their points of need.
On the arrangement for the return leg of the trip by train travellers, Alake urged them to initiate their return journey as early as possible to secure seats on the coaches and buses.
Alake also urged the bus companies to demonstrate faith, integrity, and patriotism by applying the 50 per cent subsidy and making enough vehicles available.
The minister added that the committee would continue to monitor compliance and intervene whenever and wherever necessary.