Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja
Senate President, Bukola Saraki, monday said the proposed Nigerian Railway Corporation Act (Amendment) Bill 2015 would bring revolution to Nigeria’s rail sector and also serve as a catalyst for economic advancement.
Saraki who made this remark while declaring open a-one-day public hearing organised by the Senate Committee on Land Transport on the bill, said passing the bill would have a huge impact on the nation’s economy.
According to him, the bill was one of the high priority agenda of the National Assembly, adding that quick passage of the bill would foster reform in the rail sector and as well guarantee multiplier effects on the nation’s economy.
“I sincerely hope that the proposed railway bill will lead to and usher a new era of growth and enablement for the private sector to participate more robustly and directly in the provision of rail services and railway infrastructure, while ensuring efficiency and sustainability.
“As we begin deliberation on this bill, let me charge us to imagine the great benefit a new rail system enabling investment and promoting competition and innovation would have on the economy.
“The implications are already significant and direct, from the change it would bring to agriculture, mining, oil and gas, labour transportation, urban planning to the sheer number of jobs that the construction and investment potential in this area holds.
“We have no choice but to speedily and comprehensively review and pass this bill. It is no exaggeration to say that the passage of this bill and the implementation of its provisions will have the impact of a new economic revolution,” Saraki said.
Earlier in his opening remarks, the chairman of the committee, Senator Olugbenga Ashafa (APC Lagos East), said repealing the Nigerian Railway Corporation Act 2004 and re-enacting a another one would re-vitalise and enhance operational framework and as well remove impediments against international best practices in the rail transport sector.
“We earnestly hope that at the end of this process, the new Act will not only be acceptable to the citizenry and the general public but also constitutes a qualitative document capable of setting the Nigerian railway sector on the path of positive development,” he added.