The Federal Government of Nigeria said, on Friday, that it has concluded plans to distribute 2,000 buses to cooperative societies across the country to cushion the effects of transportation on Nigerians, especially those living in rural areas.
The Minister of Special Duties and Intergovernmental Affairs, Dr. George Akume, said this in Abuja at the interactive meeting he had with the stakeholders of cooperative societies in Nigeria tagged the ‘Cooperative Asset Scheme’.
According to him, the initiative was a collaboration between his ministry, the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and other agencies of government.
Akume said that the ministry took the decision to pass through the co-operative bodies to ensure the effective implementation of the project, rather than giving out loans to individuals, which might delay quick execution of the project.
“Basically, we recognise the fact that when you give out loans to individuals, sometimes you have the difficulty of recovery, when cooperative is involved, it becomes easier to manage the facility.
“The whole essence of the initiative is to ensure that our rural force have access to transportation facility, now that there is a slight adjustment of the price of fuel.
“We do recognise that some transport business men could decide to take advantage of fuel increase over Nigerians.
“So, when this is implemented, we belief the initiative will do quite a lot to stabilize the prices for the benefits of the people,” Akume said.
He said that there was no way the country could promote development without transportation which explained why President Muhammadu Buhari was working hard in area of road, rail and air transportation.
Speaking earlier, the Project Coordinator, Cooperative Asset Scheme, Mr Olakunle Jeff, said that the Federal Government had given the buses to the cooperative societies at good price for onward distribution to the interested members of the society.
He said: “The essence of the project is that now that we have a new pump price, we want to ensure that the effect on the masses is in a minimal level and that is the essence of the first 2,000 buses.”
Jeff said that the initiative would also mitigate the challenge of transportation faced by the rural farmers.
He said: “Like in the case of a van, farmers who are under the cooperative movement would be given the van to convey their farm produce from the farm to the road and they are expected to pay back.
“There will be allocation of buses to other cooperative groups so as to use to run transportation businesses.”
The FG had, on September 2, increased the pump price of petrol to N151.56 per litre, up from N149, the third increase in three months.
A statement by the Pipelines and Product Marketing Company (PPMC), a subsidiary of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC informed the depots owners of the increase.
In the statement signed by PPMC Lead Sales- Ibadan Depot D.O Abalaka, the agency said : “Please be informed that a new product price adjustment has been effected on our payment platform”.
“To this end, the price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) is now one hundred and fifty-one naira, fifty-six kobo (N151.56k) per litre.”
Most Nigerians have since kicked against the fuel price hike with protests in the southwest within the week and Lagos in particular on Thursday.
However, the FG is making efforts to douse tension in the country with a meeting already fixed for September 12 with labour leaders as well as other stakeholders. (Daily Trust)