Federal Government yesterday declared that it would generate 250000 jobs both direct and indirect with the construction of new rail lines and rehabilitation of old railway lines as a means to boost infrastructure in the rail sub-sector.
This is just as it has pointed that the movement of petroleum products by rail will be re-introduced in 2016 as he highlighted the key rail lines that it will hope to start work on and those that it will complete by 2016 in a bid to improve transport via rail.
Minister of Transport, Hon Rotimi Amaechi who made this known while explaining government’s plan for the transport sector in general said that the rail sub sector has suffered signiﬁcant neglect in the past though it is the most effective and cheapest mode of mass transportation for both passengers and freight.
According to him, the present administration is determined to revamp the railway sector with a view to enhancing national integration by encouraging mass transit of passengers and goods between and across the geographical regions of the country.
He said,” In 2016, we hope to complete work on the Abuja-Kaduna railway line as Mr. President is highly committed to it. Work will start in earnest on the standard gauge on the following routes: 1.Calabar-Lagos line which will transverse the following towns and cities: Obudu Cattle Ranch-Calabar-Uyo-Aba-PH-Yenagoa-Otuoke-Yenagoa-Ughelli-Sapele-Benin-Agbor-Asaba-Onitsha-Benin-Ijebu Ode-Ore-Sagamu-Lagos Seaports.2. Lagos-Kano. Lagos-Ibadan-Ilorin-Minna-Kaduna- Kano.”
“The construction of new lines and rehabilitation of old railway lines will generate over 250,000 direct jobs and more indirect jobs while having multi-plier effect on economic activities. With the resuscitation of commercial trafﬁc from Port Harcourt to Aba amongst others, we have begun the revitalization of this key sub-sector of the Nigerian economy, ”he said.
He also said that the immediate impact of investment and efficient running of the rail system will be the reduction of haulage of heavy cargoes by roads thus reducing road damage and increasing the life span of roads.
“The movement of petroleum products by rail will be re-introduced in 2016. As you are aware, we have commenced and almost completed the narrow gauge rehabilitation which will be retained for the movement of cargoes. At the same time massive investments into the standard gauge to link most parts of the country with faster trains for passenger movements has begun.”
Amaechi said that during the hey days of Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC), railways was the fastest means of transporting mass freight between different regions of the nation thus reducing pressure on road usage; these included petroleum and agricultural products.
“The current state of the railway is an indication of the serious neglect of this important sub-sector occasioned by poor policy initiation and implementation. This has led to the proliferation of privately owned and operated road haulage services resulting in unregulated and chaotic situation on the nation’s roads,” he lamented
“Nigerian Railway Corporation has been effectively reduced to an economically unviable venture dependent on government subvention without any return on the huge investments. The present administration is determined to revamp the railway sector with a view to enhancing national integration by encouraging mass transit of passengers and goods between and across the geographical regions of the country.”