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Why we are unbundling state-owned railway corporation, says Nigeria’s minister, Saraki

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The Minister of State for Transportation, Gbemisola Saraki, said on Saturday the Federal Government would unbundle and commercialise the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) to optimise its operations and advance private sector participation.

Saraki, who stated this at the Nigeria International Partnership Forum in Paris, France, said the unbundling of the Corporation would drive competition in the industry, enhance service delivery for customers and improve infrastructure and other asset maintenance.

She told potential foreign investors at the event to explore investment in the sector, saying the unbundling would reposition the NRC for effective management and efficient service delivery.

The minister said the Corporation would be unbundled into four subsidiaries namely – Regulatory, Infrastructure (network creation, upgrade and maintenance), Operations and Services (the rolling stock operations, rolling stock creation and procurement, and rolling stock maintenance).

She said: “There have been renewed commitments to railway transport as a key component for socio-economic transformation.

“Of note is the 25-year strategic plan targeted at the rehabilitation of all the existing narrow gauge rail lines, construction of new standard gauge lines, and connection to all seaports.

“There are also connections to state capitals, mining and agricultural clusters, and technological hubs by rail, as well as their operation and maintenance in the country.

“This has led to some success stories such as the commissioning of the Abuja-Kaduna, Warri–Itakpe and the Lagos-Ibadan rail lines, as well as the wagon assembly plant in Ogun State.”

READ ALSO: At the last minute before 2023 poll there will be defections from the APC —Saraki

Saraki said Nigeria’s rail projects have the capacity to generate sustained freight growth of 7.9 percent from 2021 to 2025.

On the maritime, the minister revealed that Nigeria has the second-longest length of waterways in Africa, covering about 853km.

She said the country was also endowed with an extensive coastline – 10,000km of inland waterways and an exclusive economic zone of 200 nautical miles as well as additional 150 nautical miles of continental shelf in the process.

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