- NRC Yet to Get 2016 Capital Vote
About two weeks to the end of the year, the Nigerian Railway Corporation has not received any part of the N330.24m earmarked for capital projects in the 2016 Appropriation Act.
The Managing Director, NRC, Mr. Fidet Okheria, stated this in Lagos on Tuesday during a visit by the Joint Committee of the National Assembly on Land Transport led by its Chairman, Senator Gbenga Ashafa.
Apart from the zero release of the capital vote for the year, he also said the corporation was facing the problem of insufficient locomotives, coaches and wagons, obsolete machinery and workshop equipment.
“To avoid falling back to the dark days of the corporation that brought about the stoppage of train services through zero budgeting for the corporation’s critical infrastructure, I want to appeal to our distinguished senators and honourable members to come to the assistance of the NRC as rail transport is critical to economic development,” Okheria said.
He specifically solicited the assistance of the National Assembly members to ensure robust allocation of funds to the rail subsector as well as prompt release of funds allocated.
The NRC MD said the 25-year railway plan was being implemented in phases, which involved system transition, modernisation and stabilisation geared towards enhancing train operations and services across the country.
According to him, the first two phases of the 25-year vision are already being implemented simultaneously.
He said the corporation was struggling to run both passenger and freight trains in some major cities, using the available rolling stock.
Responding, Ashafa said the committee was worried about the numerous challenges of the NRC, stressing that it was “determined with the support of the Senate/House leaderships to take necessary legislative actions to address the challenges requiring our intervention.”
He also spoke on the amendment of the Railway Act of 1955, saying, “The Senate has passed the NRC Amendment Act but yet to pass the National Transport Commission Bill. The House of Representatives has yet to pass the NRC Amendment Act, but it has passed the National Transport Commission Bill.”