The Federal Government Government is considering unbundling the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) to make railway services more efficient and effective.
Nigeria’s Minister of Transportation, Mu’azu Jaji Sambo, made this disclosure yesterday in Abuja when members of the NRC Governing Board paid him a courtesy visit.
According to the Minister, the NRC’s role as the owner, operator and regulator at the same time isn’t appropriate and stalls the growth of railway services.
“The private sector is the engine of growth. Let someone else operate your lines efficiently. We cannot have an agency that is owner, Rregulator and operator at the same time,” Sambo said.
Briefing the Board on what the federal government is doing concerning resumption of rail services, the Minister said commercial operations will resume after security measures are installed to forestall reoccurrence of train attacks in the country.
“We are looking at how the rail lines can be safe by putting 24 hours surveillance and immediate response apparatus,” the Minister stated.
He, however, added that the security measures will include short and long term plans, with the short term plans taking effect from November.
“I told Nigerians that I will not run the services until every captive is released. We are lucky today, they are all released and reunited with their families. We are also lucky that all of them are back alive and were all given proper medical care”, the Minister added.
In relation to infrastructural development in the country, the Minister said no government has invested more in infrastructure than the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.
The Minister, further informed that a National Transportation Policy that will articulate a seamless transportation system for the country will soon be launched, urging the Board to ready itself by looking for alternative sources of cheaper and cleaner energy for the transport sector.
Earlier, the Chairman of the NRC Board, Engr. Ibrahim Alhassan Musa informed the Minister that due to the high cost of diesel, the cost of running the trains has become too high, admitting that NRC is running at a loss.
He called on the Minister to intervene as the railway service is one of the major things the present administration prides itself, especially the Lagos – Ibadan, the Warri – Itakpe, and the Abuja-Kaduna rail lines.