The Minister of Transportation, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi has said that President Muhammadu Buhari is eager to boost the economy of Nigeria and deliver to the people the gains of his Administration through the Transport sector.
He noted that one of the core mandates of the Present Administration, the ‘Change Agenda’ is to fulfill the needs and aspirations of Nigerians and the Government will not rest on its oars until it achieve its promise.
The minister, revealed this while n n interview with media men, in accessing the 2016 performances and ushering in 2017, which he said the present administration is poised to take Nigeria out of recession.
He enumerated the milestone achievements in the Transportation sector to includes the completion of Abuja – Kaduna Railway modernization projects, provision of safety measures at the nation’s Airports, rehabilitation of the existing infrastructures within the Airports, Sea ports, and the Railway as well as instilling financial discipline in the Ministry and its Agencies among others.
“What we are doing now is securing people’s life at the nation’s Airports and also ensuring the rehabilitation of existing infrastructures in the Rail lines and Maritime sector and also to see that the quality of rehabilitation meets international standard’’ he said.
The Honourable Minister explained further that in the past one year the Ministry of Transportation has ensured the completion of the Abuja-Kaduna Standard Rail line which is operational and Commissioned by President Muhammadu Buhari in July 2016.
He noted that the focus of the Ministry now, is the rehabilitation of the old Railway lines of Itakpe-Ajaokuta-Warri and ensuring that the construction work on the Lagos-Calabar Coastal Rail line
as well as Lagos-Kano Rail line commence in earnest to facilitate the movement of goods and personnel unhindered. According to him, construction work on the Lagos-Ibadan segment of the Coastal Rail line will commence in January 2017.
Chibuike Amaechi while commenting on the activities of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), which is one of the Agencies under the Ministry, opined that the management of the Agency in the last Administration abandoned their core mandate of a regulatory agency and turned itself into a contract awarding Institution which is alien to its mandate. According to the Minister, this system of awarding contracts by the Management of NIMASA then gave birth to perennial corruption in the Agency.
He stated that on assumption of office, the Management of the Ministry took a bold step to sanitised the system in order to curb the corruption tendencies in the Agency hence, the laudable progress presently being recorded in that sector stating that the Ministry was able to enforce sanity and ensure that the core mandate of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) is strictly adhered to for efficient service delivery.
On the issue of National Fleet for the Maritime sector, the Minister explained that the government has gone far in getting interested investors taking into consideration the provision of the laws which stipulate 60% for local investors and 40% for foreign investors.
And on the construction of Maritime University, the Minister stated that it is not the mandate of NIMASA to build University stating that NIMASA budgetdoes not include the Construction of University in any part of Nigeria.
“It is not the business of the Regulatory Agency to build University; it is the responsibility of the Nigeria University Commission (NUC) to ensure that Universities are built whenever the need arises” he stated.
In the Aviation sector, Rotimi Amaechi stated that the Ministry is committed to 100% safety hence the Ministry is serious about the ongoing rehabilitation of infrastructure in our Airports especially, the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, Muritalla Muhammed Airport, Lagos, Port Harcourt International Airport and Amino Kano International Airport, Kano.
Similarly, the Minister stated that the President has recently approved the rehabilitation work on the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja runway and that the issues of contract variation between the Ministry and the Contractors handling the rehabilitation work on the Port Harcourt International Airport which hitherto caused little delay has been settled and Contractors would soon move to site.
While responding to the current challenges being experienced by Nigerians on our Airports as regard to delay in flight due to scarcity of Aviation fuel, the Minister said the Ministry is working assiduously with all the Stakeholders in the Aviation Sector to finding a lasting solution to the problem.
On the challenges of the Ministry of Transportation, the Minister hinted that funding is a major challenge in the Implementation of the 2016 projects of the Ministry.
He however, expressed optimism that Budget Implementation will be much better in 2017.