BY: Mayor Chinonso Obiagwu
It’s one good thing to have the biggest market (human population) in Africa and another thing for one (investor) to be able to access that market.
Transportation of goods is one of the easiest way one can reach out to the vast markets as they spread across the country, but the question is, what investments has the Nigerian Government made to ease the movement of goods and services or accessing the markets across the Country for startups and heavy investors to find it easy to access the markets they wish to serve??
Nigeria, with a population of 200million people is one of the many pluses Nigeria usually brag about in international economic gatherings. One would be amazed to how a country can have so much human capital, and yet records GDP not even close to $1trillion, but that’s not the purpose for this write-up.
My major concern today is, why Nigeria would have such a market population, but have invested little or nothing into accessing these markets. It’s not like the whole population, converged into a small piece of land mass, to ease the access, but a very large land mass, divided into six geo-political zones, connected by only roads transport system with all the hurdles associated with road transportation.
In Canada in 2018, 34.7 million tons of freight were moved by rail transport according to October 2018 Statistics Canada.
In 2017, Germany Railway moved 400 million tons of cargoes (The Federal Statistical Office). Needless to say that rail transport plays two key roles as over-land public transport in moving cargo and people in large numbers.
Railway is one of the cheapest, easiest and safest way to move goods across the geo-political zones in developing countries, yet it baffles me to know that, til this moment, Nigeria have no reasonable investment in railway cargo transportation.
The little effort they made to maximize the use of road to solve this problem is the creation of the NIPOST Cargo Services (Nigerian Post Office Cargo Service) which is an arm of NIPOST focused on moving bulky goods and services by road across the federation at a very affordable and competitive price, even to the Remote parts of the Country.
NIPOST Cargo is so cheap that you can move your goods at the rate of N200/kg from SouthEast to NorthEast delivered within 3-5working days.
But in recent Years, NIPOST management have recorded the worst of its form. Its so bad now that the employees can no longer guarantee if your goods can get to its destination in the next 1month. That’s how Bad NIPOST is today.
I strongly believe that if this Institution is strengthened, we can now boast that Nigeria indeed has one of the Largest Accessible Markets in Africa. But who are we supposed to complain to?
These are Just some of the little, many problems bedeviling the economy of Nigeria.
We need cargo railways and a strengthened NIPOST. I’d also advise the SouthEast regions to see if they can invest in the possibility of very affordable movement of cargo goods across Nigeria from the SouthEast.
This will empower more business in the region, empower Made in Nigeria campaign and the region’s economy.
Mayor Chinonso Obiagwu is the CEO, Stemme Inc.,