By John Iwori
No fewer than 250, 000 jobs would be created by the Federal Government in the rail sector, the Minister of Transportation, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi has said.
He maintained that Abuja-Kaduna rail line project alone was expected to generate about 1000 jobs to secure the rail line. According to the milestones already attained by the contractor handling the project, the rail line is expected to be operational and commence commercial operation by July this year.
He also reiterated the Federal Government’s commitment and determination to complete all ongoing projects and commence construction work on the new ones in the rail sector.
Amaechi who disclosed this in a statement issued in Abuja also revealed that N13 billion had been earmarked in the 2016 budget to complete the Abuja-Kaduna rail line project and to settle all other expenditure that may be incurred in the course of concluding work on the rail line project.
The Minister explained that the changes in the inauguration date of the rail line project which was initially slated for this month was due to the delay in the compensation payment to the Daughter of Charity Hospital along the rail line near Kubwa, FCT, Abuja.
“I thought that by March, we would have concluded discussions with the officials of the Daughter of Charity Hospital but unfortunately that did not happen, and now that we have paid them their compensation, we will expedite work on the rail line and conclude for it to be operational”, he explained.
Amaechi revealed that N222 billion was budgeted for the transportation sector in the 2016 budget out of which Lagos-Kaduna and Lagos-Calabar rail lines would gulp N60 billion each.
He explained that President Muhammadu Buhari’s priority was to see the earnest commencement of these two projects because of the volume of jobs it would generate for Nigerians.
According to him, the Federal Government was currently discussing with the China-Exim Bank on the modality of fast tracking the commencement of the two projects which were very dear to Mr. President.
On the intermodal system in the rail sub-sector, Amaechi reiterated that the rail lines would be linked to the nation’s seaports where cargoes could be transmitted into the railway and carried to the next station where trucks would be available for onward transmission to their destinations.
He stated that by so doing, the associated pressure on the roads by trucks and other heavy duty vehicles would be reduced drastically since they constituted the major means of evacuating goods from the nation’s seaports.