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FG committed to 25-year railway strategic plan – Jonathan

By on June 11, 2014

The federal government yesterday reinstated its commitment to the 25-year strategic plan for the railway transport subsector as a key component of the administration’s transformation agenda.

It noted that the strategic railway plan, which includes the rehabilitation of all the existing narrow gauge rail line, construction of new standard gauge line and their operations and maintenance in the country, “would require a potential huge resources much of which are envisioned to be resourced through private sector investment, to give the Nigerian people modern railway system comparable globally.”

President Goodluck Jonathan stated this in Lagos when he inaugurated the newly-acquired two air-conditioned Diesel Multiple Units (DMUs) and six 68 Seater Air-conditioned passenger coaches by the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) at Iddo railway terminus.

According to Jonathan who was represented by the Vice-President, Nnamadi Sambo, “These are parts of the concerted effort of our administration to steadily improve the inventory of railway rolling stock. This is just the starter. Within the next few months, more of these coaches will come, and more rolling stock will be delivered here; off course, with support and efforts of our lawmakers, Minister of Transport, Idris Umar; and the corporation.”

Sambo, who performed the rites during the ceremony ,further noted: “My experience here today buttresses the full resolve of this administration to bring Nigeria at par with other railway services available globally by constantly upgrading and overhauling the system and component. As you are fully aware, this administration accord top priority for the development of infrastructure as a key component of its transformation agenda.”

In this regard, the vice-president said the federal government had articulated a 25-year strategic rail plan which “includes the rehabilitation of the existing narrow gauge rail line, the construction of new standard gauge line and their operations and maintenance.

“The execution of this 25-year plan require a potential huge resources much of which are envisioned to be resourced through private sector investment, to this end the federal government has articulated a broad platform to facilitate beneficial private sector participation, under this strategy, the railway facilities will be concession on completion to capable private concern which will in turn, boost foreign investment.”

He added that several projects in all critical sectors such as roads, water supply, power, aviation housing, education, health, have been undertaken by this administration; while some have been completed, “others are on the way.”

In order to resuscitate and revitalise the railway sector, which Sambo sais had suffered neglect in the past three decade, “the ongoing railway rehabilitation and modernisation programme will continue to be executed by the federal government using the combination of funding from regular budget, the SURE-P intervention budget as well as concessionary loans for partners such as China Exim Bank and other banks which are currently part-financing other railway projects in the country including the Kaduna-Abuja and Lagos Ibadan railway project.

“I therefore commend the minister of transport, the management and staff of the ministry, for their commitment to the goals of the transformation agenda of in transport sector.”

In his remark, the Managing Director of the NRC, Adeseyi Sijuwade, assured Nigerians that the corporation would continue to pursue its vision, mission and core values to attain its mandate of carriage of passengers and goods in a manner that is safe, reliable and affordable, “and in a way that enhances quality of service and bring more pride to our nation.

“Therefore, in fulfillment of the federal government transformation agenda, for the railway sector, we took delivery of two DMUs and six 68-seater air-conditioned passenger coaches in April and we will take delivery of additional five air-condition coaches which are all designed and manufacture in China specifically for the corporation narrow gauge railway system by CSR Nanjing Puzhen Company and Kintech Nigeria Limited.”



[This Day]