Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari is set to pay $2billion to a Chinese company for the construction of rail lines from Lagos to Kano state.
The Minister of Transport, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi revealed this during his recent visit to the Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC). President Buhari’s plan to revamp the rail sector is welcomed development as the maritime populace and Nigerians generally have been clamouring for the development of railways to ease the burden on our roads.
Amaechi said the constant fall in the price of crude oil has crippled the government and that government is trying to manage its lean resources to achieve its objectives. He charged NSC to support the government to achieve its fight against corruption and create a more stable economy for all.
The Minister of Transport was full of commendations for the Council and he said that he was keen to learn more from the Shippers Council on how to push the industry forward.
The Minister advised other agencies in the transport sector to take a cue from the Shippers Council in terms of organization, management and maintenance of clean environment.
“You appear more organized and I am impressed with your environment, I hope others will learn from you, it can’t be poverty that is making the other agencies look dirty as they are, government has spent billions of naira on them and nothing to show. I promise to do whatever it takes to implement the law, believe me I will support you” he assured the Nigerian Shippers Council.
The Executive Secretary of the Council, Mr. Hassan Bello seized the opportunity to appeal to the minister to provide the Shippers Council with the political will to enable it carry out its regulatory role effectively.
With regards to the Treasury Single Account (TSA), Bello pleaded with the Minister to work out a financial autonomy for the Council to enable it meet the several financial challenges associated with its status of port economic regulator.
“We are calling for special consideration for the maritime economy, regulation is very important for that potentiality to be realized and we are not getting the money from federal accounts or allocations or budget, this is money that is being generated by shippers so that we can work for them”, Bello explained.
By Kenneth Jukpor