By CrossRiverWatch admin
Nigeria is to open a new railway network from Obudu in Cross Rivers State, run¬ning through the coastal states of Akwa Ibom, Rivers, Bay¬elsa, Delta, Anambra, Edo and terminating at the Lagos port, according to Transport Minister, Rotimi Amaechi.
The Obudu to Lagos coastal railway network is to be inaugurated as a fresh project with new train ter¬minal stations to be cited in Uyo, Otuoke, Warri, Onitsha, Benin, Ore, Ijebu-ode and Lagos.
The minister also dis¬closed plans to commit mas¬sive funds into ensuring the seamless linkage of Lagos and some South West, North Central states with a railway line that would termi¬nate in Kano.
Amaechi, who stated this while briefing journalists in Lagos yesterday, also dis-closed plans to complete the terminal buildings of four in¬ternational airports located in Port Harcourt, Abuja, Kano and Lagos before the end of December 2016. He said the railway projects would create about 250,000 direct jobs for Nigerians.
Amaechi said a vibrant transport sector was impera¬tive in the county’s effort to diversify its economy from crude oil and solve the coun¬try’s unemployment crisis.
He, however, lamented the poor contribution of the trans¬port sector, about 1.4 per cent to the nation’s GDP, noting that years of neglect on the sector by successive regimes had resulted in the decay of infrastructure and non-prof¬itability of the most of the agencies and parastatals.
According to him, given the poor state of revenue earnings by the country, most of the projects listed for the transport sector would have to be undertaken under a pri-vate public partnership deal.
“There is an urgent need to boost the contribution of transport sector to national GDP and we are looking for funds. We will fully exploit the potentials and legislation to open up new investments,” Amaechi said.”
He said a significant amount of money would have to come from the private sector and that the government may need to con¬cession if need be,” he added.
Amaechi, who commended the Federal Airports Author¬ity of Nigeria (FAAN) for the judicious use of earmarked funds into the various airport projects, however, demanded that the agency should com¬mence the construction of a new national headquarters anywhere around the Lagos international airport.
According to him, the ma¬jor policy thrust of the Buhari government is anchored on security and safety. “For us, security and safety at the air¬ports and airlines or flights is non-negotiable,” he said.
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