The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) says it is ready to subsidise the installation of air-conditioners in taxis when its new transport policy takes off on October 1.
Kayode Opeifa, the FCTA Transport Secretary, said this at the two-day National Tourism Transportation Summit and Expo, which ended on Tuesday in Abuja.
Mr Opeifa, who represented the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, said the proposed gesture was in response to public outcry that has greeted the recent announcement of the policy.
A set of new commercial transportation guidelines released by the FCTA Transport Secretariat on April 9 requires “all taxis operating within the FCT to be air-conditioned on or before October 1, 2018’’.
The policy, which contains other guidelines considered adverse by operators in the sector, has drawn condemnation from a section of the public.
”Recently you would have heard of the public outcry against the government of FCT. We have said no taxi or mile-to-mile operator in the FCT would be allowed beyond October 1 to operate without an air conditioner. It is a requirement all over the world.
“If you want tourists to come to your country, they must be comfortable from the point of entry to the point of exit.
“Beyond tourism, it is the minimum requirement in any vehicle; you must have an air-conditioner. They talk of the issue of cost. When the time comes, we are ready to subsidise,’’ Mr Opeifa said. He did not elaborate further.
The secretary noted that the FCT has a lot of tourist attractions and tourism potential that cannot be harnessed for economic development if the transport sector is not developed.
Mr Opeifa redefined transportation as the management of the flow of the factors of production, including man, machine (vehicles) and capital (money), within a special framework, “which brings tourism to play’’.
“In my own definition here, transportation is mobility and mobility is tourism. Without effective inter-modal mobility, either by leg, car, rail, water or air, there will be no tourism.
“Abuja transportation system is designed one, to move people to work, and we are putting up structures.
“We are going to move food from the farm to the market. FCT has a lot of tourist attractions and potential,” the official said.