Saraki Sees New Railway Bill Creating Investments, Employment | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Saraki Sees New Railway Bill Creating Investments, Employment

Immunity, Saraki
Posted: Apr 26, 2016 at 3:11 am   /   by   /   comments (0)


Rotimi Akinwumi



Senate President Bukola Saraki on Monday assured that the new Nigeria Railway Act, when operational, will bring a new vista into the employment circles in the country.

Speaking at the National Assembly, Saraki assured that when operational, the Act will ensure effective rail system in the country which will create investments and employment to millions of Nigerians.

He made the disclosure in his keynote address at a one-day public hearing on the Nigerian Railway Corporation Act Cap, N129, LFN 2004 (Repeal and Re-enactment) Bill, 2015.

The Senate President observed that the rail system was one of the most important arterial systems of our economy and therefore a major determinant of the success or otherwise of our economic reform package.

He assured that the 8th National Assembly remains committed to providing the necessary legislative support to aid infrastructure development and lay down the architecture on which a new virile Nigerian economy could be built, just as he stressed that not so much have been achieved in the past to move this critical vehicle of the economy from the colonial initiative it has been to a 21st century economy solution.

According to him, the bill would bring great benefit to a new rail system enabling investment and promoting competition and innovation it would have on the economy, adding that the implications are already significant and direct, from the change it would bring to agriculture, mining, oil and gas, labour, transportation, urban planning to the sheer number of jobs that the construction and investment potential in this area holds.

He said: “The existing law in the rail sub-sector was drafted and enacted to support an outmoded model that restricts management and investments in railway to the public sector.

“Aside the fact that this law has become too old and outmoded, many experts including the business community agree that there is need to separate the regulator from the operator and give investment remit to both the states and the private investor to invest in the sector.

“This, it is said, is to ensure a much more rapid deployment of the rail system across the nation and bring in competition, innovation and drive in this all-important sector.

“We have no choice but to speedily and comprehensively review and pass this bill. It is no exaggeration to say that the passage of this bill and the implementation of its provisions will have the impact of a new economic revolution.”

Speaking earlier, chairman of the committee, Senator Gbenga Ashafa said the country had a lot of benefits to derive from the revival of the railway transport system, stating that if the obsolete Act was carefully repealed and overhauled, there is no doubt that the populace will enjoy cheaper means of transporting goods and raw materials and the incessant damage to our roads and highways by heavy trucks would be reduced.

“Today we set the tone for an Act that can stand the test of time and open up the rail sector to private investments in the areas of concessioning, determination of public service obligations, effective passenger services and the establishment of a regulatory framework for private participation,” he said.