Government intensifies search for private sector investors in railway

The Federal Government says it has deepened measures to bring in private sector investors into the railway sub-sector in line with its reform policy to concession various rail corridors after its rehabilitation.

Minister of Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, who disclosed this at the 2017 Education, Technology, Transportation and Disaster Management (ETTDM 2017) conference organised by the International Association of Research Scholars and Administrators (IARSA) in Lagos at the weekend, noted that arrangements are ongoing with relevant agencies on the concession of the narrow gauge rail lines of Lagos-Kano (Western Lines) and Port Harcourt-Maiduguri (Eastern Lines) corridors.

He said: “The Federal Government is pursuing and investing meaningfully in the transportation sector to achieve the objectives. It, therefore, follows that for this objective to be pursued to a logical conclusion, the ministry has been focusing on actualising the mandate of the Ministry of Transportation and improving on the sector’s reform programmes, policies and activities in line with the change agenda of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led Administration.

 “Some of the landmark activities of the ministry and its agencies are tied to various contract memorandum approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC), the Ministerial Tender Board and Parastatal Tender Boards according to their various spending thresholds within the period under review.”

According to him, the transportation sector as a priority sector in the change agenda of the present administration had been given unprecedented government attention and financing which had manifested in the massive infrastructure projects in the maritime, rail and aviation projects.

He also said the legal and regulatory frame-work to drive the sector’s reform had also received tremendous boost in the last one year.

Meanwhile, in his lecture, a professor of Transport Economics and Logistics, Princewill Owualah, said transport had always facilitated our economic environment and the total architect of life.

He, however, lamented that in Nigeria, the government is not giving value to transportation the way it is giving to other areas, noting that it is only during political campaign that people hear about issues of transportation.

“The essence of having transport in any issue of the nation cannot be over-emphasised. There is an inseparable link between transport and the society,” he said.

“We need transportation to move goods from exporting to exporting countries. The population of this country will enjoy it more if the railway is functional because the railway is for mass movement of people. It is sad that in a country with this population, we don’t have functional railway,” he said.

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