The Federal Government has approved the sum of N15billion to be disbursed as loan to transporters to provide about 1240 buses as part the Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment programme following the partial deregulation of the downstream sector of the petroleum industry.
The Minister of Information, Labaran Maku, made the announcement after the weekly meeting of the Executive Council of the Federation in Abuja.
“FEC today approved the disbursement of N15 billion which will go into the public mass transit revolving loan programme which the President floated on January 8 as parts of efforts to reduce the cost of transport especially for the masses in Nigeria,” Mr. Maku said.
Mr. Maku said President Jonathan is determined to revolutionize the mass transportation sector in the country by ensuring a sustainable public transportation system in the country.
“What Mr President is trying to do is to ensure that for once this country develops the capacity for mass transportation and this has been done both through the railways, waterways as well as road transportation”.
The minister said what the FEC approved is a revolving loan to competent transporters at zero per cent interest.
“What we approve today will support the purchase of 1,240 High capacity buses for disbursement to competent transport investors in the country. As you know this is a revolving loan and the government guarantees the loan at zero per cent interest so that transport investors can have access to these vehicles and therefore use them to reduce the cost of transportation in all the major cities across the country.
“The buses are given on the basis of a thorough scrutiny on the capacity of the transporters to run them on a sustainable basis,” he said.He further added that, “those companies that have been given the nod to supply the buses have accepted to set up infrastructure in Nigeria for a sustainable supply of spare parts as well as the maintenance of these vehicles.
“In the next couple of years government will only patronise those companies that are prepared to set up manufacturing plants in Nigeria,” he added.