Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, has stated that the Buhari administration considers the railways as critical infrastructure which significantly reduce cost of transportation and boost the economy, and is therefore leveraging alternative funding mechanisms to bring the old rail lines back to life and to modernize the entire rail transportation system, consistent its 25-year Strategy Vision.
Amaechi spoke this on Friday during the 2021 Annual Public Lecture put together by the Department of Economics of University of Lagos, Akoka Lagos.
According to the minister, the federal government has repossessed most of the failed locations on the Narrow Gauge corridor, while assessing the economic impact of creating standard gauge corridors.
He revealed that technology transfer clauses were adequately provided for in all the rail development contracts, including capacity building and Conversational Skills Rating (CSRs), domestic appropriate knowledge and skill.
He said that the rail development plan aims at linking and integrating all the regions of Nigeria, although funding and environmental issues have temporarily slowed down the pace of execution of the plan.
He called on community leaders and civil society organizations to join in the fight against indiscriminate disposal of refuse along the railway right-of-way and the vandalization of railway infrastructure across the country.
Earlier at the lecture, vice chancellor of the University of Lagos, Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, who was represented by the deputy vice chancellor (academics), Prof. Oluwole Familoni, had endorsed the current rail infrastructure drive of the federal administration.
“In vast country like ours, where the population are not only scattered all over the country but are also separated by desert, forest, valley and mountains efficient, reliable and cheap means of transportation like modern railway network are essential,” Ogundipe said.