Road transporters across Nigeria demand their share of the N10 billion COVID-19 palliative fund earmarked for assisting transporters who recorded losses during the nationwide lockdown in 2020.
Transporters under the umbrella of the Public Transport Owners of Nigeria Association, (PTONA) have complained that they have not been attended to by the Federal Government in the disbursement of the funds.
As with many sectors of the economy, the transportation industry in the country suffered financial setbacks during the imposed lockdown in 2020, with losses running into billions of naira.
“The N10 billion COVID-19 Palliative Fund was meant to assist road transporters to resuscitate their businesses that were on negative income throughout the 14 weeks that the country was on complete lockdown for all interstate passenger movement due to COVID-19 pandemic,” PTONA said.
Members of PTONA said that they were yet to benefit from the palliative fund to help boost their businesses and that a request to visit the Ministry of Transportation to further discuss a way forward was “neither approved nor rejected”.
The group, in a letter signed by its Deputy President, Emeka Mamah, stated that in a response from the transportation ministry, it was directed to the Ministry of Industry, Trade & Investment for further inquiries into the fund.
It said, “However, in your reply to our letter, dated March 3, 2021 (a copy is attached) our request for the visit was neither approved nor rejected.
“On the contrary, you simply advised our association to redirect its inquiry regarding the fund to the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade & Investment since the intervention fund for the transport sector had been released to the ministry by the Federal Government.
The group also mentioned the N60 billion allocated for Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), which was designed to support businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, stating that an aspect of the N60 billion MSME Survival Fund domiciled in the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment is a one-off grant designed to support vulnerable Micro Small and Medium Enterprises in meeting up their salary obligations under the Federal Government’s National Economic Sustainability Plan (NESP).”