Aminat Isah, Abuja
The federal government on Thursday disclosed that the sum of $40billion is required to finance the ongoing railway projects going on across the country.
President Muhammadu Buhari stated this in Kaduna during the commissioning of two new locomotives and 10 standard guarge executive passenger coaches for Abuja-Kaduna railway Service to further support it’s administration’s resolve on the ease of doing business.
Reiterating the federal goverrnment’s commitment to linking all major commercial and production centers by rail for rapid social economic developmemy, Buhari noted that the present administration would vigourpusly pursue railway development in Nigeria through the implementation of the 25year strategic railway masterplan in Nigeria through the implementation of the 25year strategic railway masterplan.
The railway service would be a yardstick for measuring the performance of this administration, he said.
“Its not just a statement, but benchmark for measuring the performance of the administration, we solicit support of the national assembly, development partners and relevant stakeholders to achieve their aim”.
“The railway service would be a benchmark for measuring the performance of its administration.”
He further disclosed that “government’s focus would be on costal rail like Lagos-Calabar with Branches to Benin, Agbor and Onitsha including Port Harcourt to. Maiduguri standard guage rail line with branches to Owerri, Akwa, Abakaliki, Yola and Damaturu; government would also focus on Kano-Kazure , Daura, Kastina, Jibya tolink to Maradi in Niger Republic as part of regional railway inter-connectivity of the ECOWAS sub-region.”
Other approved supporting projects in the railway according to the President is the procurement of more locomotives, coaches, wagons, workshops and equipment that would be used for standard guage lines, as the government is looking forward to a more efficient railway service on the narrow guage line to be driven by the private sector.
“Negotiations is on for the concessioning of the narrow guage rails to General Electric Consortium”, he added.
In his remarks, the Minister of Transport Rotimi Amaechi, disclosed that the Abuja-Kaduna railway service that runs from Mondays-Saturdays with a daily passenger traffic of 1,280.
According to the Minister, “Increase in the fleet size of locomotives would translate to increase in number of frequency thereby reducing issues of ticket racketeering and stranded passengers as witnessed by several stranded passengers as demand was far above what is required in the past.
“Government has ordered for additional seven more passenger coaches due to arrive which would be deployed to the Warri-Itakpe rail line when completed”.