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

By Isaac Job, Uyo.

The Federal Government on Thursday said that another investor would be engaged to commence work soon, in partnership with China Civil Engineering Construction Company (CCECC) holders of the franchise on the Lagos to Calabar coastal rail line .

Speaking at an on-going retreat holding in Uyo, Akwa Ibom, by the Federal Ministry of Transportation, the Hon. Minister of Transportation, Mu’Azu Jaji Sambo, explained that the former contractor for the project could not secure five per cent foreign facility and 15 per cent Nigeria counterpart funds.

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

“Now that alone has affected 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 three-day retreat, Sambo noted that transportation sector has contributed to the socio-economic needs of Nigerians and promoted the overall sustainable development of the nation, but that more would 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 would ensure macroeconomic stability, enhance the investment environment, improve living conditions, and implement climate change mitigation.

He said that the plan would 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.

Sambo 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 include 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.

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 mind-set 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 include 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 would 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.

The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry if Transportation Dr Magdalene Ajana said the 2022 edition of Ministerial Retreat was timely as the present administration  is finalizing its diversification Agenda with a view to changing the reins of leadership in year 2020.

“This Retreat will therefore afford us the unique opportunity to appraise ourselves on the contributions of the Transportation sector to the diversification Agenda of President Mohammedu Buhari as we will learn from our mistakes and chart a new course for a better and more vibrant Transportation Sector,” she said

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