By Onyekachi Eze
Imo State House of Assembly has waded into the high cost of transportation experienced across the State, following a motion deliberated at the floor of the house, yesterday.
The motion tagged, “motion to urge the State government to facilitate the reduction of high Imo transport fare and to introduce Imo City Mass Transit (ICMT)” was chiefly sponsored by the member representing Njaba State constituency, Hon (Mrs) Uju Onwudiwe.
Onwudiwe stated that all Imolites deserve an equal treatment, hence her worry why an average citizen should be spending so high in transportation.
The female lawmaker remarked that most drivers inflate the prices at will without minding whose ox was gored. She stressed that without stringent measures and laws, the trend would keep on reoccurring at the detriment of the poor masses.
Speaking further, Hon Onwudiwe prayed that government should look into a Public Private Partnership, PPP arrangement which would go a long way in checkmating driver’s excesses and conduct.
In her prayers, she said, “aware that interest in investment location is energized by affordable factors of production and mobility, which transport is a core operator of the ease of mobility and doing business”.
“Considering that local transport in and around the capital, Owerri, is considered unusually expensive and this is capable of discouraging inflow of people and investment interests”.
“Noting that government can facilitate the establishment of integrated private partnership investment profile that can take up the nature of Imo City Mass Transit (ICMT) with regulated pricing and designated route schedule plan and moderate return on investment guaranteed”.
It continued, “realizing that such initiatives are capable of introducing organized State couch system of transport with comfort and regulated pricing, thereby stabilizing the cost of living, sanitizing transport sector and connecting the various new housing locations with added advantage of supporting the current city expansion program”.
In their resolution, the House resolved that the government of Imo State shall consider the critical need for strategic intervention in transport, float a solution profile such as Imo City Mass Transit (ICMT) or its equivalent funded through Integrated Public Private Partnership (PPP) funding profile.
“Be it also resolved that the transport solution will run on regulated pricing to reflect economic realities and to stabilize transport of Imo and the various outskirt cities in order to moderate cost of living and operational cost of investments using minimal and conducive transport solutions”.
In a related development, the soft spoken vibrant lawmaker has successfully seen her bill passed a second reading at yesterday’s plenary.
It was tagged, “A bill for a law to provide for the establishment of the Imo State drivers’ Institute for the training of professional drivers and for other related matter”.
Having passed the second reading, it was committed to the committee stage, with the House Committee on transport.
Given an opportunity to throw more light on the bill, Hon Uju Onwudiwe opined that if passed into law, it would address all related issues bordering on safe driving and conduct, as have been seen among many drivers.
By Onyekachi Eze