In December 2020, as part of its Economic Sustainability Plan to cushion the effect of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in the country, the federal government launched the Transport Track of the Transport and Artisans scheme under its Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Survival Fund, expected to provide a one-off grant of N30,000 to about 4,505 people operating in the transport sector in the country.
In this report, Sobi FM’s DARE AKOGUN spoke with some transporters in Kwara State about this initiative of the federal government.
IN August last year, the Minister of State for Transportation, Senator Gbemisola Saraki, announced that Federal Government had approved the sum of N10 billion to cushion the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on road transport workers and operators.
Saraki made this known when the president of the Public Transport Owners of Nigeria Association (PTONA), Isaac Uhunwagho, led the association’s National Executive Committee and Trustees to visit her in Abuja.
The transport workers were one of the hardest hits by the lockdown imposed in the country as part of the federal government efforts to stem the spread of the disease.
The scheme, dubbed ‘Transport Track initiative,’ targeted at a total of 4,505 beneficiaries in each state across the country, including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and is expected to provide a one-off grant of N30,000 each to operators in the transport sector, was formally launched in December 2020.
The targeted beneficiaries include Rideshare drivers, such as Uber and Bolt, taxi and bus drivers, ‘Keke-Napep riders and Okada riders, as well as cart pushers.
According to the Minister of State, Federal Ministry of Trade and Investment, Hajia Aisha Abubakar, as of January 17 this year, a total of 155,920 beneficiaries in the transport track had been approved for payment, while 9,109 pending cases were being processed for payment.
In other words, a total of 146, 811 transport sector beneficiaries have been paid under the Transport Track N30,000 one-off grant totalling N4.4 billion.
The strategy of the programme as designed by the Federal Government is that there would be state focal persons, project field officers and enumerators who were appointed to work alongside the Medium and Small-Scale Enterprises (MSME) Survival Fund Project Delivery Office.
Their work, among other things, include identifying and ensuring that members of the respective associations are paid.