Vice President Namadi Sambo
Vice-President Mohammed Namadi Sambo has revealed that the Federal Government is aggressively pursuing the ongoing rehabilitation of about 4000km rail lines across the country.
The vice-president disclosed this at a lecture he presented at the quarterly business luncheon of the Island Club, Lagos, and specifically said that the Lagos-Kano (western) corridor would be completed this year, while the Port-Harcourt-Maiduguri (eastern) corridor would be completed by the end of 2013.
Sambo, whose lecture was titled: ‘Nigeria’s Economic Potentials: Incentives for Growth of the Real Sector,’ also stated that the federal government has commenced the construction of the Abuja-Kaduna segment of the central corridor (Kaduna-Warri) standard gauge rail lines, adding that construction of the Lagos-Ibadan segment has also been awarded.
“Consultancy service works for development of the east-west railway line and other corridors are in progress. The Itakpe-Ajaokuta-Warri standard gauge rail line is nearing completion with the entire track completely laid. On the rolling stock, 25 new General Electric locomotives have been procured.
“In order to enhance sustainability and durability in the rail sector, we have signed a Memorandum of Understanding with General Electric to establish a locomotive assembly plant and maintenance facilities in the country,” Sambo explained.
Commenting on federal government’s efforts on roads construction, he expressed determination concerning the completion of all inter-regional highways in the country.
“These include the Abuja-Lokoja, Ogbomosho-Ilorin, East-West road from Benin to Calabar and Kano to Maiduguri. Government is also addressing the problems of Lagos-Ibadan expressway in the interest of the people and economy of the country.
“These road projects cover about 2000km across the country. Several bridges are being constructed or are at advanced stage of planned development, including the second Niger Bridge connecting the East and West of the country; and the Oweto Bridge across River Benue, etc,” the vice-president said further.
He insisted that deregulating the petroleum industry would stimulate growth in the Nigerian economy.
Sambo said further: “We are all aware that the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), a comprehensive piece of legislation that will turn around the oil and gas industry in Nigeria has been approved by the Federal Executive Council and sent to the National Assembly.
In order to ensure enduring transparency and accountability, the present administration redrafted the PIB to ensure it meets the aspirations of all stakeholders, given current realities and future expectation in the global energy landscape.
“The government is also pursuing its stated objectives of reducing gas flaring, through the encouragement of accelerated gas development projects. I am glad to say that between 2011 and May 2012, gas flaring has reduced from 24 per cent to 18 per cent
“Capacity utilisation by existing domestic refineries has greatly improved, from 30 per cent to 60 per cent. The phased plan of returning refineries to 90 per cent capacity has commenced with the ongoing rehabilitation of the Port Harcourt refinery to be followed by Warri and Kaduna refineries,” he added.
According to him, the federal government is seriously working with all sectors of the economy as well as agencies of government to increase the inflow of foreign direct investments, which he described as a top priority of government.