The Federal Government is considering alternative funding mechanism to rehabilitate old rail lines and modernise the rail system in line with its 25-year Strategy Vision.
Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, stated this on Friday, September 24, during the 2021 Annual Public Lecture organised by Department of Economics, Faculty of Social Science, University of Lagos. Akoka, With the theme, “Nigeria’s National Rail Transport Project”.
The federal government has recovered most of the failed locations on the Narrow Gauge corridor and also taking precautions in the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) report on the standard gauge corridors, he said.
Amaechi said that all the new railway projects contracts were embedded with rich technology transfer clauses, capacity building and Conversational Skills Rating ( CSRs) domestic appropriate knowledge and skill.
The minister said that establishment of rail projects was to reduce cost of transportation and boost economy, since economic activity drives development in any country.
He said that all the regions in the country would have been connected with rail transportation; but for lack of sustainable funding plan, environmental issues, degenerated infrastructure, theft of railway materials and obsolete legal framework.
According to the Minister, the railway project is affected by decline of requisite railway professionals; indiscriminate disposal of refuse of railway right of way by citizens among others.
He appealed to community leaders and civil society organisations; to join in the fight against vandalisation on railway infrastructure across the country.
Vice Chancellor, of the University. Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, said that efficient transportation would provide access to business and competitiveness in the region.
“When transport systems are efficient, they provide economic and social opportunities; and benefits that result in positive multiplier effects; such as better accessibility to market, employment, and additional investment.
“Availability of railway also plays an important role in reducing regional disparities; and improving the competitiveness of region; by facilitating, trade movement of labour, and economies of scale.
“In vast country like ours, where the population are not only scattered all over the country; but are also separated by desert, forest, valley and mountains efficient, reliable and cheep means of transportation; like modern railway network are essential,” Ogundipe said.