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Return of Amaechi to Ministry of Transport divides industry stakeholders’

Former Minister of Transportation, Rt Hon Rotimi Amaechi, was yesterday sworn-in again as the substantive minister of the same ministry.

Based on his antecedents between 2015 and early this year when President Muhammadu Buhari’s first term elapsed, there had mixed reactions on what more can be said to be the achievements of the Minister aside some select railway developments.

For stakeholders in the maritime sector, many of them had expected to see an industry expert being appointed to change the fortunes of the entire transportation industry.

Their stand is largely influenced by the way and manner he failed to drive the setting up of a national shipping line at a time Blue Economy is dominating narratives globally. Maritime stakeholders also felt too bad on why during his period between 2015 and May 29, 2019, he was almost indifferent in the disbursement of Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF) which would have grown the fleet capacities of indigenous shippers so that they can compete favourably at least, in the Africa’s maritime space.

On roads, analysts said the Minister never made any serious input as no singular road transport reform of development policy came from him within the period of Buhari’s first term.

Also, aviation pundits said the clear silence of Amaechi during the period the Minister of State for Aviation, Capt. Hadi Sirika was driving the failed Nigeria Air project.

Recall that during Amaechi’s valedictory media address as a minister, he opened up on the scheme, alleging that what technically failed Nigeria Air were divided voices at the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting on both funding and structure.

But in a swift response, Sirika brushed aside Amaechi’s claims, saying there was nothing like discordant voices and insisted that the project is still on course.

However, in setting fresh agenda, industry followers are calling on Amaechi to work with stakeholders to refloat a national shipping fleet so that Nigeria can gain from the AfCFTA which is underway.

They also want an immediate ministerial process that will activate the moribund Onitsha River Port alongside other eastern ports that have remained in comatose while Lagos ports are stretched to breaking point.

On rail, analysts want the returnee-minister to face the eastern corridor so as to show that rail transportation infrastructures do not look as if they are exclusive projects between western and North West and Central.