The Federal Government through the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, revealed that it is leveraging alternative funding mechanisms to rehabilitate old rail lines and modernise the rail system in line with its 25-year strategic vision.
The Minister disclosed this at the 2021 annual public lecture organised by the Department of Economics, Faculty of Social Science, University of Lagos, Akoka, themed “Nigeria’s National Rail Transport Project,” reported by the News Agency of Nigeria.
He said the FG recovered most of the failed locations on the Narrow Gauge corridor and is also taking precautions in the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) report on the standard gauge corridors. He stated that the establishment of rail projects was aimed at reducing the cost of transportation and boosting the economy; since economic activities drive development in any country.
He also added 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.
“The railway project is affected by decline of requisite railway professionals, indiscriminate disposal of refuse on railway right of way by citizens among others,” he said.
The minister urged community leaders and civil society organisations to join in the fight against vandalisation of railway infrastructure across the country.
Unilag Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, said when transport systems are efficient, they provide economic and social opportunities and benefits that result in positive multiplier effects such as better access to markets, employment, and additional investments.
“Availability of railway also plays an important role in reducing regional disparities and improving the competitiveness of regions, by facilitating trade, movement of labour, and economies of scale.
“In a 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 cheap means of transportation like modern railway networks are essential,” Ogundipe said.
What you should know
Recall that Nairametrics reported in July that the Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi, revealed that the Federal Government has committed the sum of $280 million for the $1.2 billion Kaduna-Kano rail project which is set to begin this month.