The Minister of transportation Rotimi Amaechi says the Lagos- Calabar rail project will kick off as soon as the funds being sought materialize.
The minister said this during the annual ministerial briefing in Abuja.
Amaechi said funds for some other rail projects are ready but cabinet approval is being awaited before work starts.
“The ones we are about to start are Ibadan-Kano, we are waiting for fund from China, Port Harcourt-Maiduguri, we have a bit of the fund, but we are waiting for the cabinet to approve. We are also about to start Kano-Maradi, and Lagos-Calabar rail lines. But, one thing that is unique in all these projects is that the President earlier in his government directed that all rail lines must terminate at the Seaports. There is a bit of adjustments in the pricing because we had to adjust Kano-Maradi to link up to kano-Lagos so that it will terminate at Lagos seaport. The Port Harcourt-Maiduguri is not only terminating at Port Harcourt seaport, it is going from Port Harcourt seaport to Bonny, we are building a deep seaport” he said.
However, he said the problem of hiring consulting engineers was also still being addressed.
The Minister frowned at the problem of ticket racketeering for rail services and directed that any staff caught in the act be sacked forth with. He disclosed that the earnings of the NRC increased by about 30 million naira with the advent of e-ticketing.
Heads of other agencies in the sector also addressed some issues in their sections.
Responding to questions on provision of sea time berth for cadets, the director general ,Bashir Jimoh said 2,600 cadets were trained under the NSDP with . 600 left out of which 250 are billed to go soon..According to him, before 2021 the remaining number will be cleared .
On the deep blue project, Jimoh said early last month, Mr President announced cancelation of scaled anchorage area ,over 95% compliance has been achieved. He said the deep blue project assets are in use as they have been deployed. Only the aircraft is yet to be received and is expected on the 14th April.
For the Lekki deep sea port, he DG said the Minister has approved inspection which will take place shortly. He said the project is 65% completed. According to Jimoh, the Minister approved completion 2022. Contractors asking for 2023.
The Minister of state for transportation ,Senator Gbemisola Saraki also fielding questions from journalist said, the National transport policy has been in the pipeline for 5 years. She said it has been sent again to council, FEC comittee headed by the Vice President Prof Yemi Osinbanjo. After correction from counci, the document is being rejigged but Should be ready before July 21st. Other subsection policies are also being rejigged.
The executive secretary, shippers council, Barr Hassan Bello said it was necessary to Reduce clearing time to 7 days. He said canners will reduce clearing time to 5 mins per container from about five hours which obtains now.. According to him, Customs has promised to automate the process. Bello said Shippers council has discovered lots of corruption at the port and some arrests have been made. The process is being sanitized at the port. The ports will have to operate 24 hours to clear cargo.
Speaking on ticket racketeering, the MD Nigerian Railway Corporation , Engr Fidet Okhiria said the E -ticket process matches names to id card and photos.. You cannot buy more than 2 tickets at a time. People claiming the platform is unaccessible are those who created multiple email to buy tickets for racketeering.