I consider it a unique privilege to be invited as a Guest Speaker of this epoch making event. On behalf of all NARTO Members nationwide, we humbly accept this invitation and are immensely grateful for this kind gesture. The Petroleum Tanker Driver (PTD) is waxing stronger. Only yesterday, we all joined them to celebrate the official opening and commissioning of their Ultra Modern Hotel building, just beside their corporate Headquarters in Utako here in Abuja, the Federal Capital city. With your permission, ladies and gentlemen, I want to use this opportunity to congratulate them yet again.
Firstly, road infrastructure in Nigeria is very crucial to the nation’s growth as a developing economy. Secondly, tanker drivers are the driving force in the efficient distribution of petroleum products and thereby the main backbone of nation’s economic development. Without the services of drivers, petroleum products distribution in Nigeria cannot be possible talkless of reaching the consumers.
My discussion will centre on the road infrastructure in Nigeria focusing mainly on roads rather than air transport facilities, railways and maritime infrastructure that include water ways and ports. The paper argues that the road transport sector with adequate infrastructure in good condition is critical for the petroleum products distribution across the country. And conversely, road infrastructure dilapidation will seriously negate the nation’s quest for economic development.
- ROAD INFRASTRUCTURE IN NIGERIA AND ITS IMPACTS ON PETROLEUM PRODUCTS DISTRIBUTION
Adequate and efficient road infrastructure is central to Nigeria’s economic growth, it is at the core of good governance and public welfare. Any improvement in road infrastructure positively impacts the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). In fact it facilitate supply and distribution of goods and enable cultural exchange among the people.
Nigeria has a national road network of about 200,000 km. Of this total, federal roads make up about 35,000 km (or 18 per cent), state roads account about 17,000 km (or 15 per cent) and local government roads about 150,000 km (or 67 per cent), with most local government roads being unpaved.
In Nigeria, about 85% of the population depend on road transportation for their movement. While 98% petroleum products that include fuel components like premium motor spirit, domestic pure kerosene, and automotive gas oil’s lifting from supply sources to all parts of the country is done by road.
Although the federal road network constitutes 18% of the total national network, it accounts for about 70% of the national vehicular and freight traffic. This makes the federal roads highly over burdened and over stretched. Statistics show that an estimated 40% of the federal road network is in poor condition (i.e in need of rehabilitation); 30% in fair condition i.e requiring periodic maintenance); and 27% in good condition (i.e requiring only routine maintenance). The remaining 3 per cent consists of unpaved trunk roads that need to be paved.
In case of state roads, 78 per cent is in poor condition, with 87 per cent of local government roads also considered to be in poor condition. The above reality have negative impact on the distribution of petroleum products across the nation. The poor state of Nigerian roads can be attributed to the following challenges:
- The current institutional structure for the management of roads is inefficient. A Federal Road Maintenance Agency (FERMA) has been established as an interim measure before instituting more substantive sector reforms, as Nigeria continues to rely on traditional general budget allocations to fund road maintenance and rehabilitation.
- Current maintenance level are insufficient to preserve the quality of the existing road infrastructure, resulting in annual deterioration. Ample resources have been allocated to federal road rehabilitation, but not enough of these resources are reserved for preventive maintenance.
- A historical trend of prioritizing new road construction over maintaining existing roads further exacerbates deterioration of existing road infrastructure.
- A shift in inland transportation from rail and waterways to roads has increased the burden on roads as they have become the nation’s primary mode of passenger and goods transport. For example, the high volumes of petroleum products transported on the national roadways, which are meant to be transported via pipelines, diminish the already limited life span of the roads, resulting in higher maintenance needs.
- The budgeting cycle limits the use of funds during the dry season (the season most favourable for construction).
- Overloading, blocked drainage structures and the parking of heavy axle vehicles on carriageways contribute to additional deterioration of road infrastructure.
The transportation of petroleum products involve the process of moving the commodities from the refineries to deport, to the marketer, and to the final consumers which requires adequate coordination, planning, monitoring and effective control to achieve maximum level of functionality. Nigeria’s petroleum industry has experienced enormous problems such as poor management and lack of turnaround maintenance resulting in the refineries operating below full capacity.
Crude petroleum happens to be one of the mineral resources being produced in commercial quantity in Nigeria. The petroleum sector, therefore, serves as the main supply of energy in the country. Since petroleum and natural gas are the major suppliers of commercial energy in the most populous African country, an evaluation of petroleum products marketing in such an economy is a step in the right direction. The petroleum and natural gas reserves are usually found where there are crude oil reserves. Therefore, there are petroleum and natural gas reserves associated with crude oil and non-associated reserves in the country. Petroleum production in commercial quantity in Nigeria has led to rapid increase in oil revenue, GDP and foreign exchange earnings.
Transportation is an important aspect in the distribution and retailing of petroleum products, this is because the locations of petroleum products production are usually far from final consumers. An efficient and effective logistics is a function of how well the transport system is structured considering issues such as precision, cost, just in time, frequency, distance and time. Therefore, efficient transportation systems are strategically important for effective distribution and retailing of petroleum products.
The road transport forms the dominant mode of transportation of petroleum products in Nigeria because of its ability to provide door to door services, and the ease with which it can get petroleum products to final consumers. The restrictive nature of the water ways, coupled with the near collapse of the rail system, and the high cost of air travels have further exerted a lot of pressure on the road as over 70 per cent of the total movements in the country are made by the road. The distribution is attributed to comparative cost economies of the modes of transport. In spite of the advantages of pipelines, road transportation remains the most patronized mode in Nigeria for petroleum haulage and retailing. The consequence of the dominant use of road mode of transport in the distribution of petroleum products will reflect when the road fails to contribute substantially to efficient distribution and retailing of petroleum products across various cities in Nigeria.
The transportation problems facing efficient distribution of petroleum products include armed robbery attack, traffic congestion, delays at loading points,vehicle mechanical problems, accidents, harassment from law enforcement agencies, and high cost of fuel.
- IMPLEMENTATION PROCESS AND PROBLEMS ON ROAD INFRASTRUCTURE DEVELOPMENT
The Federal Government has a very beautiful policy of road infrastructure as contained in the Federal Government of Nigeria Draft National Transport Policy 2010. However, funding road infrastructure projects remains a major constraint in the delivery of efficient and improved road networks across the country. Until recently, the funding of roads projects has been through the budgetary provisions and executed by traditional method of direct contract award. This method has proven to be inadequate and most often unimplemented creating a funding gap for execution of road projects.
On an average, the annual funding requirement is estimated at N500 billion against an average budgetary allocation of N 120 billion with a deficit of N380 billion. In 2012, out of the N 143 billion budgetary for road infrastructure development only N110 billion was released with deficit of N 33 billion unimplemented. The scenario was worst in 2016, where the Federal Government spent N73 billion on road infrastructure out of the N 266 billion appropriated in the 2016 Federal Budget leaving a whooping deficit of N193 billion.
The deficit is evident to have negative consequences on the development of road infrastructure in undermining national economic growth and causing loss of lives and properties across the country.
Against this background, reports have further shown that Nigeria has the second highest road traffic accident fatalities among 193 countries in the world. The data available shows that Nigeria records 152 deaths for every 100, 000 people, making road accidents the third highest killer in the country behind malaria and tuberculosis.
In the first half of 2012, the Federal Road Safety Commission put statistics for accidents at 1, 936 fatalities and substantial part of it is attributes to the poor state of our roads.
The data further reveals that eighty per cent of injuries in Nigeria are traffic accident related. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimate of global figure of 1.3 million people killed annually on road accidents while over 50 million people sustaining different degrees of injuries from such crashes. Announcing the figure at National Launch of the United Nations Decade of Action on Road Safety in June 2017. Corps Marshal and Chief Executive of the Federal Roads Safety Commission (FRSC), Mr. Osita Chidoka disclosed that over 80 per cent of the figure occurs in developing countries with Africa accounting for the highest death rate. Adding that WHO had predicted that if nothing was done by countries to stem the tide, death by road accidents would increase by 65 percent by 2015/2020 overtaking Malaria and Tuberculosis.
Furthermore, the impact of decayed roads on the economy of the nation is glaring. Nigeria’s economy loses whooping of N175bn to deplorable road conditions across the country.
The solutions to the persistent problems of road infrastructure in Nigeria are
many. But can be broadly discussed in summary.
- There should be a common evaluation framework among the three tier administration: – Federal (A Trunk Roads), State (B Trunk Roads) and Local Government (C Trunk Roads) on road infrastructure development that can assist in overcoming the persistent problems associated with the sector.
- The creation of a common set of key performance indicators that would evaluate and access road infrastructure management policies across the country.
- Actualization of concessionary lease of some major Nigeria road infrastructure to willing private entrepreneurs/international consortium both within and without Nigerian on Build, Own and Transfer (BOT) basis.
- Involvement of some major stakeholders like NARTO to partner with the public service on road infrastructure development through lease of Federal Roads over specified years to manage.
- Allow willing State Governments to take over some major Federal Government Trunk A Roads under their domain as some State Governors requested recently.
- Increase the yearly budgetary allocation to the sector and full implementation of the budget for optimal result.
- Proper maintenance of the road infrastructure. In 1985, about 23 percent of national roads were in a bad state. This rose to 30 percent in 1991 and 50 percent in 2001 with the trend going slightly up and relatively stable up to the year 2016. The current dependence of Nigeria on its road system increases the urgency of addressing this issue. Unless roads and bridges are kept in good conditions they cannot support the desired socio-economic development of the country.
- The Federal Government should introduce user charges on Federal Roads, as the primary means of augmenting the budgetary allocation for road maintenance and rehabilitation. The Ministry of Works is responsible for the construction of new roads and the major upgrade of existing roads whilst Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA) created in 2002 has the mandate for the routine maintenance of Federal Roads. The Government should continue to contribute to the funding of road construction and maintenance, and attract additional funding by promoting private sector investment .in the upgrade and maintenance of roads and management of tolls through Public Private Partnership (PPP). In this way, performance risk will be passed to the private sector and there will be a strong discipline for efficient delivery of services.
- A road study undertaken in 1998 indicates that N300 billion will be required over the next 10 years to bring national road network into a fairly good condition. After the recovery, an average of N24 billion will be required each year for subsequent maintenance and N32 billion per year for road Further neglect of these roads implies a loss of network value of N80 billion per year and additional operating cost of N53 billion per year. Except roads and bridges are kept in good conditions they cannot support the desired socio-economic development of the country.
- THE ROLE OF NIGERIAN ASSOCIATION 0F ROAD TRANSPORTATION OWNERS (NARTO)
As a critical stakeholder in the road infrastructure and distribution of petroleum resources in Nigeria and the entire West African regions, NARTO, especially the tanker drivers, have to make relentless effort in curbing road traffic accidents despite the bad road infrastructure. I want to appeal to you therefore, to ensure strict adherence to all traffic rules and regulations in the course of your duty. As a matter of emphasis let me recall the meaning of traffic rules and regulations:
Traffic regulation can be defined as the rules and regulations that guide the behaviours or actions of road users. This is in place in order to prevent accidents and: enhance the free flow of traffic.
Some Traffic Rules and Regulations:
- Do not drink and drive: drivers are expected to avoid taking alcohol shortly before or while driving
- Vigilance: Motorists and pedestrians crossing roads should be vigilant in order to avoid accidents.
- Avoid hands free/earpiece: All road users are required to avoid all forms of hand free/ earpiece as this may not allow them to hear well and concentrate.
- Wearing of seat belt: Motorists are expected to wear the seat-belt whenever they are driving, passengers should also use the seat belt where they are provided
- Noise pollution: All road users are expected to guide against noise pollution. Drivers of vehicles should not blow their horns excessively to disturb or distract others
- Obstruction parking: All road users should avoid packing on the road as this may lead to obstruction for other road users, thereby leading to heavy traffic.
- Making calls while driving: Making and receiving phone calls should be avoided while driving as this can cause distraction and lead to accident.
- Use of trafficators: Road users should trafficate before entering or leaving the road to indicate and create awareness for other vehicles coming behind; this will help to avoid accident
- Speed limit: All motorists to adhere strictly to speed limits as provided
- Bridges and zebra crossing point: Pedestrians should use pedestrians bridges or zebra crossing points where they are provided and drivers are to halt as appropriate.
Road signs are symbols which help road users gain full information about road in order to avoid accidents. These signs are grouped into:
- Regulatory signs: These are signs that appear often in circular shapes. “They are divided into:
- Mandatory regulatory signs: Mandatory regulatory signs appear with blue circles but without red border such as diversion signs, roundabout sign etc.
- Prohibitive Regulatory signs: They are signs with red and yellow circles. They are Stop sign, No light sign etc. The colour red for regulatory signs as a background colour is used to denote restriction.
- Informative Signs: They are provided to give required information to road
As petroleum tanker drivers you are our asset and the national asset at large. So you should guard against breaking traffic rules and regulations in order to distribute petroleum products across the country in peace, not in pieces.
In conclusion, I wish to commend our hardworking and resourceful drivers who, despite the numerous challenges, such as bad roads, insecurity and weather, continue to provide essential services to the people. NARTO and the nation as a whole would always appreciate your sacrifices. Let me at this point quickly remind our drivers that it is illegal in our road safety laws to extra loads on our trucks, such as tomatoes and firewood.
Petroleum products are hazardous and poisonous substances and their contact food items such as tomatoes would contaminate the tomatoes and make them dangerous for human consumption. The same goes for firewood which has the additional risk of serving as additional fuel in the event of an accident. Therefore, I urge you to please refrain from engaging in any act which tantamount to an infringement of our laws and which is inimical to your safety.
Finally, as you prepare to give another mandate to Otunba Oladiti led Executive later today, I appeal to you to keep our frienship and partnership alive; our partnership is a partnership that works.
ALHAJI (DR) KASSIM I. BATAIYA