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Nigeria’s transportation sector: Adaptation to COVID-19 and way forward.

The unprecedented impacts and disruptions as a result of coronavirus known popularly as COVID-19 is affecting all economies and markets globally.

It is caused by the SARS -COV-2 and has continued to grow with more than 175 countries and territories reporting cases. There are currently 1,604,718 global confirmed cases and 95,735 deaths from COVID-19 outbreak as of April 10,2020,03.37GMT and 305 confirmed cases and 7 deaths in Nigeria.

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The response by governments and organisations all over the world has suddenly impacted our way of life and that of the global transportation systems. The speed with which these impacts has hit the world is unprecedented, especially because the different modes of transport (airlines, railways, maritime, pipelines, private and public transport systems) have all experienced drastic fall of customers and patronage.

This has resulted negatively in shutting down of operations and in many cases reduction in service delivery levels which has thrown nations and the entire transport systems into the worst case ever experienced by mankind, worse than the similar case of 1918 influenza pandemic caused by an H1N1 virus with genes of avian origin.

Though, COVID-19 pandemic has negatively dislocated and shutdown industries and economies, there seems to be some unique opportunities attached to it, such as helping the sector to reposition itself to be broader in business approach and seamless. Before the outbreak of the virus, Nigerian economy had great potentials for growth, it is currently the largest in Africa with a gross domestic product (GDP) of $446.543 billion (2019).

The lack of a well-diversified economy and weak healthcare system  is a great challenge that might affect the economy of Nigeria if urgent steps are not taken in addition to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) revision of the 2020 GDP growth rate from 2.5 percent to 2 percent as a result of a relatively low oil price and limited fiscal space.

Additionally, the country’s debt profile had been a source of concern for policymakers and developmental practitioners, as the most recent estimate puts the debt service-to-revenue ratio at 60 percent, which is likely to worsen amid the steep decline in revenue associated with falling oil prices. These constraining factors will aggravate the economic impact of the COVID-19 outbreak and make it more difficult for the government to manage the crisis.

Transportation sector contribution to Nigeria’s GDP increased to $720.241 million in the third quarter of 2019 from $642.927 million in the second quarter of 2019 and contributed 2.49 percent to nominal GDP in Q1 2019, an increase from 1.85 percent recorded in the corresponding period of 2018, higher than 2.05 percent recorded in the fourth quarter of 2018.

The importance of the sector as the gateway to the economy of nations cannot be overemphasised, especially because transportation is an essential service  needed all over the world to move passengers, goods and services with safety and security as its fundamental objective in delivering quality service and also a top priority for the government (the regulators) to ensure everyone working in the