Investment In Nigerian Railway Infrastructures Hits N101.4b

Investment In Nigerian Railway Infrastructures Hits N101.4b : The federal government in a calculated effort to revive the nation’s gigantic railway network, has awarded rail lines rehabilitation, telecoms and signalling contracts worth N101.4 billion in the last two years.

Our correspondent gathered that out of the amount, the Subsidy Reinvestment Programme (Sure-P) has released a total of N41 billion.

The Managing Director of the Nigeria Railway Corporation, Mr Adeseyi Sijuwade, who gave the figures yesterday, said the corporation has a 25-year strategic plan of system transition, modernisation and stabilisation in which the nation’s railway was expected to boom again by 2017.

Giving a breakdown of the railway projects, the NRC boss said Contract 1 & 2 comprise the Lagos-Kano Line which became operational on December 22, last year after the corporation spent about N24.4 billion to rehabilitate the 1,126km western line.

According to him, contracts on telecoms and signalling on the Eastern Corridor from Port-Harcourt to Maiduguri, a distance of 1,657km awarded to Ansaldo A3 and O Ltd cost N5.6 billion has reached 18 per cent completion.

The track contract of the Eastern Line was awarded to two firms, CGGC and Lingo at N48.2 billion.

Sijuwade, who assured of federal government’s determination to activate effective intermodal transport system in the country, however stressed that the public private partnership model has become inevitable.

He disclosed that the Railway Bill has been approved by the National Council on Privatisation (NCP)and would soon be presented to the National Assembly for consideration. He said in view of private sector involvement, the NRC has decided to invite private sector participation in adjunct services such as cleaning of passenger train, catering, supply of coaches and management of car park.

“It is now glaring that government’s funding alone cannot take us to where we need to be. So many goals of government are competing for fund, but quite a lot will happen over the next few months. We want to make rail major mover of freight in this country and link all international airports, seaports and inland container depots to the rail network,” Sijuwade told journalists at the press briefing in Lagos.

The NRC MD also disclosed that over 80,000 passengers have been lifted by the Lagos-Kano Train since commencement of operation in December 2012.

“The service moves 26,000 passengers daily short distance on the Western line, 15,200 on long distance weekly and 11,000 tons of freight monthly,” he said.

The Federal Government plans to connect all state capitals, major commercial cities and all ports in the country to rail network, but the corporation faces a huge challenge in its establishing laws, which bars the private sector from participating in the core business of proving rail service.

The NRC is seeking an amendment of the 1955 Railway Act to bring in the private sector. Nigeria imports over 90 per cent of goods consumed in the country, which are moved by roads putting the nation’s road infrastructure, especially those leading to seaports in perpetual dilapidation year to year.

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S0urce : leadership.ng

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