FG to engage new investor for Lagos -Calabar coastal rail line project – Minister

By Isaac Job

The federal government has said that another investor will soon commence work in partnership with China Civil Engineering Construction Company (CCECC) holders of the franchise on the Lagos to Calabar coastal rail line.

Speaking while fielding questions from newsmen in Uyo, Akwa Ibom state capital on Thursday during a 3-day Retreat by the Federal Ministry of Transportation, the Minister, Mu’azu Jaji Sambo explained that the former contractor for the project could not secure 5 percent foreign facility and 15 per cent Nigeria counterpart funds.

“You know it is an EPC finance contract. In other words, the contractor who was supposed to have provided 85 percent foreign loan while Nigeria provides 15 per cent counterpart funds did not fulfil their own obligation.

“Now that alone has affected the commencement of that project. But as it is now, the Ministry has identified the company; an investor that is willing to the project and we are in talks with the company on the basis of sharing the scope of work. Once we are through, I will brief the media accordingly”

While addressing participants at the 3-day Retreat, Sambo noted that the transportation sector has contributed to the socio-economic needs of Nigerians and promoted the overall sustainable development of the nation but more will be done in closing the yawning infrastructural gaps.

Sambo explained that the infrastructural gaps and other challenges necessitated the development of National Development Plans (Medium-Term Development Plans 2021-2025 and a Long-Term Plan called the Nigeria Agenda 2050) to invest massively in infrastructure.

He said such investment will ensure macroeconomic stability, enhance the investment environment, improve living conditions, and implement climate change mitigation.

He disclosed this will generate 21 Million full-time jobs and lift 35 Million people out of poverty by 2025 – and set the stage for achieving government’s commitment of lifting 100 Million Nigerians out of poverty in the next 10 years.

He said the ministry has domesticated the implementation of the National Development Plan 2021-2025, through the Transport Sector Medium Term Development Plan (MTDP) 2021-2025 Policy Document, aimed at accelerating the growth of the transportation sector in the country.

The Minister told the participants that the policy thrust includes improving safety and transportation security, collaboration and synergy amongst transportation stakeholders, professionalism and Human Capacity Building.

Others include strengthening institutional governance and regulation as well as multi-modal infrastructural developments.

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The Minister frowned at infighting and unnecessary quarrel between boards and agencies within the transportation sector and called for synergy and cooperation hoping that at the end of the retreat, the staff will have a new mindset to implement policies of the ministry.

“I will not end this speech without calling your attention to two salient matters that would aid us in our quest for progress and development and these are: Harmonious working relationship within our governing boards with uttermost respect for delegated authorities and responsibilities.

” Ensuring a harmonious working relationship between the ministry and its agencies on one hand and the legislative arm of Government who by the provisions of our Constitution that we have sworn to uphold is to be accorded all necessary respect and corporations at all times within recognized boundaries,” he said

Setting the tone for the 2022 Ministerial Retreat, the Minister of State for Transportation Prince Ademola Adegoroye said the Retreat will involve presenting programmes and projects of the ministry, especially the quick wins (low-hanging fruits) by setting realistic timelines to achieve set goals.

He said the participants will brainstorm on the best strategy to adopt in the execution of programmes and projects.

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