The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, has called on the Nigerian Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO) to sustain more collaborative partnership among members.

Ngige, represented by Alhaji Idris Idris, made the call at the NARTO 18th Annual General Meeting in Sokoto on Tuesday.

The minister said: “I want to use this forum to appreciate your association for working in collaborative partnership with your members.

“This has in no small measure contributed to sustaining industrial peace and harmony as a major prerequisite for economic growth and development.

“In this regard, I wish to reiterate that my ministry places much emphasis on social dialogue.

“As such, I want to state without equivocation that the doors of my office will continue to remain open to achieve this objective.’’

He called on the participants at the conference to give it all the necessary seriousness it deserves.

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“All hands should be on deck to ensure the success of the conference, as I have no doubt that the outcome will significantly strengthen your association in attaining its statutory mandates.

“This will provide a conducive environment for the maintenance of industrial peace and harmony which is a catalyst for socio-economic growth of our nation,’’ Ngige said.

In his message, Gov. Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State, represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Prof. Bashir Garba, commended NARTO for selecting the state for the meeting.

Tambuwal called on the association to continue to focus on modern and latest means of transportation of goods and services across the country.

“The transport sector been a crucial sector that played important role in the movement of goods and services; hence the need to focus more on modern system to be fully sustainable.

“It is in view of this that the Sokoto State Government formed a committee to look into the activities of NARTO and the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) in the state, ‘’ he said.

Earlier the President of NARTO, Alhaji Kassim Bataiya, commended the efforts of the Federal Government in the area of road construction in many parts of the country.

Bataiya called for the dualisation of Makera-Kontagora-Yauri-Jega-Sokoto Road and upscaling of the security arrangement on Birnin Gwari-Kaduna Road to stop the incessant kidnapping of people on the road.