Jhe transport and logistics sector is one of the most critical sectors for a country’s economic prosperity. According to the National Bureau of Statistics, the current share of transport and logistics in gross domestic product (GDP) is around 3%. This is a clear indication that this very important multi-billion naira industry is grossly underperforming and not living up to its potential in Nigeria. In South Africa, data shows that transport alone contributes about 6.5% of their GDP, and in the United States about 7.7%.
Indeed, countries wishing to increase their economic performance invest significantly in transport infrastructure and the skills needed to drive the transport sector.
In Nigeria, we are well aware of the lack of transport infrastructure due to insufficient investment in this sector. Again, just like most sectors of the Nigerian economy, it also suffers from inadequate capacity in terms of skilled labor, inadequate training facilities and innovative technologies in the transport value chain, among others. This is largely due to lack of funding, training and retraining.
For Nigeria, the most used modes of transport are rail, road, water, pipelines and air transport.
But we can see that the current government has modernized some transport infrastructure. It has built new roads, upgraded existing ones, and upgraded critical infrastructure across different modes of transportation. For example, the FG has built new airport terminals, a deep water port with private sector partners, river ports, new standard gauge rail, new gas pipelines and much more.
However, for these transportation facilities to be utilized optimally, they need highly trained personnel to operate and manage them efficiently. This is where the Nigerian Institute of Transport Technology (NITT), Zaria, Kaduna State, comes in to provide the necessary training and conduct research on key issues in the country so that policies are shaped based on decisions enlightened. In the railway sector, for example, NITT has recently strengthened its capacity to provide training in this sector.
The potential for growth and development in the Nigerian transport sector is quite promising, especially with recent investments in the transport value chain and investments in skills upgrading, especially in the government-owned training center federal, the NITT.
The Institute was established on March 14, 1986 by Executive Order No. 6 (now CAP 116, LFN, 2004) to, among other things, address issues in the transport sector in Nigeria. It is the apex management development institute for transport and logistics in Nigeria and the West African sub-region. NITT promotes career development and professional certification, business leadership and strategic management, training, conducts research and advisory services, engages in transportation intelligence and surveillance, and adapts the transport technology to the needs of Nigeria.
Since its inception, the institute has recorded several milestones and tackled challenges ranging from insufficient funding and low attendance of its academic programs and services despite huge potential for skill enhancement despite its facilities of training.
Mr. John Emmanuel, Director of Strategy, Transportation Growth Initiative and Chartered Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Transport and Logistics said, “The skills gap in the transport sector is very large and needs to be addressed. NITT was created for this purpose to provide the bridge and professionalism required to provide efficient transport in Nigeria. They have done their best over the years based on their tenure. Going forward, Nigeria should export its skills in transport as NITT is well placed to do so.
Professor Calistus Ibe, Professor of Transport Management Technology at the Federal University of Technology, Owerri, said Nigeria has not developed because we neglect transport. “If we develop transport, it will create jobs, facilitate trade, create integration and the whole supply chain will improve. This should bring down the cost of living in Nigeria,” he said.
NITT Director General Dr Bayero Salih-Farah told our correspondent that the Institute is being deliberately repositioned as the premier center for integrated transport training in all of Africa and that many investments have taken place and will continue. to take place in the future. “It’s not just the physical structures that have been revamped, new ones are being built; staff welfare has been improved and more staff have been recruited to bolster our workforce needs. Additionally, new NITT centers have been opened across the country to make the Institute more accessible to all parts of the country,” he said.
He said the new face of NITT was recently unveiled with a clear direction, adding that the following things have been accomplished and still matter.
We have “streamlined the NITT Enabling Act, Terms and Service Scheme, expanded the scope of Institute programs and collaborations, among others, with the support of relevant authorities; increased participation in the Institute’s short and long-term programs and annexes established in Ebonyi, Kano, Gombe, Ekiti and Katsina States to complement existing ones in Lagos, Abuja and Port-Harcourt. Work is also underway at the Makurdi center,” he said.
Others include: “renovated, furnished, and outfitted NITT’s main auditorium, Institute library into a multimedia and electronic library. 20-Room Executive Hostel, the Transportation and Logistics Master’s Classroom and NITT Clinic expanded in scope and operation to provide medical services to the Institute community and members of the public.
Dr. Salih-Farah also said that the institute also invests in research and development. For example, he acquired a plot of land of 84 hectares from the Kaduna state government to establish the institute’s Jatropha farm for the production of biofuels and obtained another plot of 40 hectares from the local government of Sabin Gari in Zaria for the construction of the Institute Drivers Development and Training Center.
According to him, NITT has obtained accreditation from the National Board of Technical Education (NBTE) to run the National Diploma programs in Crane Operations, Welding and Fabrication, and Mechatronics at the Institute.
One of its innovations is the electric Keke (tricycle) which the DG said improves to the level that it can be used commercially. “We are also working on the electric car. We have a team of engineers working on the different elements of the electric car in different parts of the country. So in the near future we will have a breakthrough,” he said.
Other projects at the institute intended to deepen training according to Salih-Farah include; completed construction work in NITT Phase II Participants Hostel 11, completed construction work in the new DG/EC office building, established and equipped the National Bank of transport data in the institutes with state-of-the-art equipment for real time the collection of transport data in all modes of transport and the creation and equipment of the multilingual library of the Institute with language translators from point to ensure the training of participants from French-speaking countries in particular.
The institute is also currently seeking to revise its law, enacted more than 30 years ago, in order to broaden its scope of action.
Commenting, Prof. Calistus Ibe said NITT has now developed training capacity and their new bill, once enacted, will allow them to expand their scope in line with current realities given the economy. knowledge in which we currently find ourselves.
“In the future, they will anchor ICT and technology, because transport now depends on it. Future expansion will concern both human resources and infrastructure. Take the Victoria Training Institute in Texas, there’s nothing they do in transportation without going to the Institute to ask for feedback. This is the way forward in Nigeria,” he said.
Professor Femi Abdulganiyu Sumaila, former DG NITT, said that “the conceptualization of the existing law limits the scope and activities of NITT. We discovered that there is a lot that NITT can accomplish, hence the decision to amend its existing law. Over the years, we have focused solely on training employees in the transport sector. The problem is how many agencies do we have in the transport sector? But today we are extending the scope to all modes of transport and of course to the logistics industry, which is broad,” he noted.
He also noted that the institute’s internal capacity was limited. “But today we have PhDs and certified professionals at NITT. So those are the things that were missing in the past. And NITT will also train PhD holders in the future. The institute can then retain the very good ones. This is how universities retain the skills of the workforce and improve their capabilities,” he noted.
NITT DG also agreed that so much has changed in the industry, so the new law will be in line with current realities. “The new law expands our activities, programs, develops new courses and will also lead to self-sufficiency of the institute,” he said.