We’re implementing railway modernisation, Sambo tells NASS

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…As ministry presents N92.6b budget for 2023 to NASS

The Ministry of Transportation says it is aggressively executing Nigeria railway modernisation project as well as expanding the rail network.

Consequently, it is seeking for the support of the Joint Committee of the National Assembly (NASS) for budgetary appropriation.

Sambo presenting the budget

Engr. Mu’azu Jaji Sambo, Minister of Transportation, made the disclosure and plea while presenting a budget of N92.6 billion to the Joint Committee of the Senate and the House of Representatives on Land and Marine Transport for the Ministry and its agencies for 2023 fiscal year.

Sambo also presented the 2022 Budget Performance, of the Ministry which was N147,549,080,677 out of which N52,134,727,253.22 representing
35.33 per cent has been released and  N38,904,208,345 has been utilized as at October 25, 2022.

Budget presentation session

The minister informed the Joint Committee on Thursday of challenge being faced in securing counterpart funding through loans in the implementation of the railway modernisation project.

Furthermore, he disclosed that the implementation of the Kaduna – Kano, Port Harcourt- Maiduguri and Kano-Maradi segments of the Railway Modernization was ongoing with the  Federal Government counterpart funding in the 2022 appropriation, while expecting the Federal Ministry of Finance to conclude negotiations of the loans with the Infrastructure Development Finance Institutions of the Chinese, Portuguese and Turkish origin to implement the projects.

Stakeholders at the session

While soliciting for favourable budget consideration, the Minister said: “Permit me to also report that the Lagos – Ibadan segment of the Lagos – Kano and Itakpe to Warrii railway project are fully operational and receiving patronage from the general public. To reach practical completion on these projects, some aspects of works, including construction of  Overpass Bridges, connection to the National Grid and other ancillary provisions have to be completed. Therefore, adequate funds need to be provided in the 2023 budget to facilitate the practical completion of the projects”.

On the unfortunate incident on Abuja- Kaduna bound train, the Minister said:
“while recording successes achieved in the Railway Subsector, permit me to also mention the sad occurrence of the Abuja – Kaduna Rail incident. With the release of those abducted, the Ministry plans to commence operation on the line, but not without taking proper precaution by installing necessary security gadgets to monitor the line and forestall a reoccurrence. It is our hope that Distinguish Senators and Honourable Members would assist the Ministry in achieving this plan”.

The Minister used the opportunity to further emphasize that the Ministry as part of its mandate  had continued to pursue the implementation of Government policies in the Land Transport Sub- sector in the country, including issues relating to the  Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) protocols and conventions entered into in respect of the Sub sector.     

Budget session

Speakingon the National Freight Offices at Iiela, Sambo said: “we have achieved significant progress in completing the ongoing National Freight Offices at Iiela Jibiya and Idiroko in addition to other Land Transport Projects and with your support, the capturing of all these projects and programmes as proposed before you in the 2023 Budget proposal will assist us further towards actualizing the desired goals”.

Earlier, the Chairman, National Assembly Committee on Land and Marine, Sen. Danjuma Goje expressed dismay that the budget was not implemented within the budget year despite early approval by the National Assembly.
“You see, the National Assembly has been able to achieve approval of the budgets within the budget circle; for three years, we have been able to approve these budgets by the end of December. But surprisingly, the implementation of the budget does not correspond with the urgency to which we attach in approving these budgets”, he said.

While giving the assurances that the Committee would support the Minister and the agencies to succeed, Goje enjoined them to see that the budget was implemented faithfully “to deliver government intentions and democracy  dividends to Nigerians”.

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