The Federal Government said yesterday that American company, General Electric (GE) would take over the management of the Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC) under a concession plan between January and March 2017.
Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi, who made this known yesterday in Abuja while speaking at the first International Transportation Conference, said that the 18-month window period before the take-over is within legal documents signed between the Federal Government and the American company.
Amaechi explained that the entrance of General Electric into the management of the nation’s rail system is to harness the full potential of rail transportation infrastructure in the country, in addition to creating new jobs.
The minister said that plans are underway to commence the construction of new seaports in Warri and Lekki. He added that the construction of the Lekki seaport is to commence in January 2017 at the cost of over N1 billion while the proposal for Warri port was still being studied.
He said more innovations are to be expected in the transportation sector, adding that the Federal Government has full knowledge of the current hardship in the country but is determined to curb corruption at all levels while turning the economy around.
Convener of the TGI Transportation Conference, Chief Osita Chidoka said the country needs to build its transportation infrastructure to suit the demands of the future.
Chidoka explained that the building of more roads alone couldn’t solve mass transportation issue but that the nation needs diversification of transportation modules like inland waterways and modern rail system.
Managing Director of Credit Suisse, Edward Marlow said Nigeria has good chances of securing foreign aid and loans because of the low debt status of the country which he said is to the advantage of the country in borrowing from international financial institutions.
Marlow said the Nigerian government needs to borrow a leaf from the Ethiopia, which provided front line backing to the state organisations to seek foreign loans by providing the necessary legal frameworks.