…Projects to generate 5000 jobs
By Dirisu Yakubu – Abuja
The federal government has said the imminent commencement of building rolling stock locally to service rail way needs across the country is a testament to the economic mileage of Executive Order number 5 signed by President Muhammadu Buhari in his first term in office.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo stated this at the official groundbreaking ceremony of rail wagon assembly plant in Kajola, Ogun state.
Accompanied by the Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi, Professor Osinbajo reiterated the commitment of the government to link every part of the country with the rail system.
He said: “The citing of the plant here in Nigeria and the commitment to hiring Nigerians and Nigerian businesses affirms the Presidents directives in Executive Order 5 on prioritizing Nigerians and Nigerian businesses in the innovation, production and procurement of engineering projects and services.
“The plant would offer an important platform for engineers, technicians, artisans and other professionals to gain the specialized skills required for the production and maintenance of rolling stock.
“This will invariably conduce to spin-off businesses in the region of operation and across the country wherever rail networks are in existence. The plant is expected to generate about five thousand (5,000) direct and indirect jobs.
According to Osinbajo, “the railway is not only an alternative and comfortable mode of travel, it holds the master key to transforming commerce in Nigeria and across the continent.
“By linking our ports to rail lines and now, building the rolling stock locally, import and export business within, into and out of Africa’s largest market will never be the same. When completed, it is expected that the plant would produce some parts of the wagons for the Lagos – Ibadan and Abuja – Kaduna rail lines, but also for the central rail lines and to satisfy the needs of other rail operators within the West- African sub-region.”
He lauded President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration for its commitment to the development of the rail sector in Nigeria.
“After completing the Abuja – Kaduna Railway project in July 2016, this administration commenced construction works on the Lagos – Ibadan Railway modernization project in March 2017. Following which, we initiated the rehabilitation and completion of the abandoned Itakpe – Ajaokuta – Warri rail line which was started over three decades ago.
“Furthermore, last month, we signed an agreement with Messrs China Railway Construction Company International to construct the Itakpe – Ajaokuta rail line which will be extended from Itakpe to Abuja through Baro Inland Water Port in Niger State with a branch line to Lokoja in Kogi State. This rail line will link into the new Warri seaport being constructed under the agreement.
“Also we are optimizing the Lagos-Ibadan Rail modernization project by extending it to the Apapa Port, the nation’s busiest port for the efficient movement of cargo from the port to various destinations. This will expedite import/export flows, decongest the ports, and depressurize our roads in the process.
“We are putting all mechanisms in place to achieve the swift completion of the Ibadan Inland Dry Port which will off-take containers and cargoes from Apapa port through the Lagos – Ibadan rail line.
“Let me also commend the Federal Ministry of Transportation led by the very able and dynamic Hon. Minister of Transportation Rotimi Amaechi or Chibuike Amaechi today he is Rotimi since we are in the South West, for the very hard work and commitment he has demonstrated from the inception of our rail modernization project,” he added.
Vanguard News Nigeria.
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