The Chairman of the Committee on the Implementation of the End of Year Transportation Subsidy Programme of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Dr. Oladele Alake, has described the programme as a huge success, saying that it has benefited over 160,000 passengers across the country.
Dr. Alake, who is also the Minister of Solid Minerals Development, made this known in a progress report on Monday, January 1, 2024.
Alake said the programme, which was approved by President Tinubu on December 19, 2023, provided free transportation on the routes of the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) and 50 percent subsidy on transport fares for passengers travelling on 30 routes serviced by bus operators under the umbrella association, the Association of Luxury Bus Owners of Nigeria, ALBON.
He also added the programme was a demonstration of the president’s empathy and love for the Nigerian people, who are culturally and emotionally committed to travelling to their home towns at the end of the year.
According to him, the programme was also aimed to ease the financial burden of the citizens, who are facing some economic challenges due to the global pandemic and other internal factors.
He said the committee took some remedial measures to address some identified gaps in the execution of the programme, such as adding two more routes, engaging other bus-owning stakeholders, such as the National Union of Road Transport Workers, NURTW, the State-owned Transport Companies, and the Private Transport Operators Association, PTONA, and collaborating and sensitising Nigerians through the press and other media platforms.
He said the programme recorded impressive results, as between December 21 and December 31, 2023, the NRC conveyed 71,000 passengers, while buses operating under the auspices of ALBON carried 77, 122 passengers.
The Minister in the report also revealed that 652 “bus trips originating travels” from Oshodi Interchange in Lagos carried 15,766.
“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, and 652 bus trips originating from Oshodi Interchange in Lagos carried 15,766. This means no fewer than 163, 878 passengers benefitted from the Presidential Yuletide Transportation Subsidy in the first 10 days of the programme.
“Secondly, while train bound passengers enjoyed total free service, road travelers paid only 50 percent of the fares. The subsidies depended on the fares ranging from a savings of N21,500 on a Lagos-Abuja road trip fare of N43,000 and N15,000 on a Lagos –Onitsha bus fare of N30,000,” Alake said in the report.
He appealed for co-operation from the passengers and the bus companies to manage the return of passengers from their respective locations back to their bases till Thursday, January 4, 2024, as the programme is still ongoing.
On the overall assessment of the scheme so far, Alake enthused that it has been a huge success, emphasising that the transportation rebate was a demonstration of the level of love President Tinubu has for Nigerians.
“The programme has been a huge success. It is a vivid expression of the resonant leadership driven by emotional intelligence. The yuletide transportation programme sought to meet the mass of Nigerians at their point of need,” said the Minister.
On the arrangement for the return leg of the trip by travellers, Allake also urged them to initiate their return journey as early as possible to secure seats on the coaches and buses, and appealed to all the bus companies involved to demonstrate faith, integrity and patriotism by applying the 50 percent subsidy and making enough vehicles available.
The minister added that the committee would continue to monitor compliance and intervene whenever and wherever necessary, and assured that the appropriate government security agencies have been properly briefed to ensure the free embarkation and disembarkation of passengers at the parks.