Posted by News Express | 1 November 2014 | 2,401 times
The Federal Government has created over one million direct and indirect new jobs from the resuscitation of rail transportation by the Jonathan administration in the last four years.
Minister of Transport Senator Idris Umar disclosed this while speaking on the sidelines of PUBLIC AFFAIRS FORUM, a programme organised by the Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs in Abuja.
According to the Minister, the on-going construction of new rail lines and rehabilitation of existing ones is a key component of the Transformation Agenda which has a goal of repositioning the nation’s economy for the overall benefit of the Nigerian people.
“The fundamental goal of the transport sector under the transformation agenda is to develop an adequate, safe, environmentally sound, efficient and affordable integrated transport system within the framework of a progressive and competitive national and international market economy,” he said.
Senator Umar explained that the rehabilitation of over 90 per cent of the entire existing narrow gauge lines throughout the country is almost completed, noting that the rehabilitation was the first segment of the 25 years railway strategic plan which encapsulates the vision of President Goodluck Jonathan for the nation’s transportation sector .
He added that the rehabilitation of 1,124km western rail line, Lagos – Kano, is completed while work in the 1,657km Eastern rail line, Port Harcourt – Maiduguri, is at an advanced stage of completion with the branch line from Kafanchan – Kaduna expected to be completed before the end of this year.
According to the Transport Minister, the Jonathan administration is constructing the first rail line from the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja to Kaduna, which is a standard gauge rail line, while contract for Lagos – Ibadan standard gauge double track has also been awarded.
“The Jonathan administration has signed a framework with a reputable Chinese firm for the construction of coastal railway line that will connect 10 states and add great value to Nigerian economy. This project alone will create an approximate 4 million jobs in another five years. We have also made giant strides in sea transportation by partnering with the Lagos State Government and the private secor to develop the Lekki Deep Seaport while the process for the development of lbom deep sea port in Akwa lbom State and Badagry in Lagos are in progress,” Senator Umar said.
The minister said that the contract for the dredging of critical parts of River Benue has been awarded and will be completed in 36 months. He explained that the government had completed the dredging of the lower River Niger from Warri (Delta State) to facilitate all-year navigability.
Speaking earlier, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs, Dr. Doyin Okupe, stated that President Goodluck Jonathan will run an issue-based campaign ahead of the 2015 general elections in view of the “undeniable impact of the President’s Transformation Agenda on the lives of individuals and communities in Nigeria.”
“This President does not believe in showmanship and empty sloganeering. He is committed to building legacies which present and future generations will be proud of. The records are there for all to see and they are a pointer to what he can still do and that will be the focus of his campaign for re-election,” Okupe stated.
•Photo shows Transport Minister, Senator Idris Umar.
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