NASS supports legislative transportation framework
The Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) has said that it generated N1.13 billion in revenue in the last year.
Managing Director of the corporation, Fidet Okhiria, said this in Lagos, when members of the National Assembly Joint Committee on Transportation, led by the Chairman, Abdulfatai Buhari, visited the corporation on an oversight function.
Besides, Okhiria said the Corporation has requested N61.5 billion as a proposal for 2022 procurement activities, which cuts across 22 budget lines. These will include procurement of spare (including lubricants) for the locomotives, coaches and wagons; Insurance of locomotives and rolling stocks; rehabilitation of track from Port Harcourt to Makurdi; maintenance of roads into stators, rest houses, workshop, chalets end operational residential quarters, among others.
He said NRC’s current personnel strength was 10,672, with the current personnel cost of N9.14 billion for 2021.
He added that due to the additional staff requirements for the operation of the new Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge line, a total of 1,000 additional staff was being considered with an additional wage bill of N567, 451,300 per annum. That is an average of N567, 451.30k per staff.
He pleaded with the committee to support the NRC to achieve its quest to enable the corporation to expand its tentacles for efficiency.
The corporation also solicited the support of all stakeholders, including the National Assembly, in its quest for salary enhancement, adding that discussions are ongoing with the National Salaries Income and Wages Commission (NSIWC).
Consequently, the committee pledged its support to NRC with an available legislative framework to achieve seamless transportation in the country.
Buhari said that an adequate legislative framework would further boost inter-regional business in the country.
The chairman said that the committee’s commitment would guarantee excellent delivery on NRC’s mandate in line with international best practices.
“You are all aware that the joint committee is carrying out its statutory constitutional responsibilities to ascertain the level of work done.
“We are here to oversight how funds appropriated in the past fiscal years were expended and how much is needed for the smooth running of the corporation against the next budgetary allocation.
“We had the benefit of listening to your presentation and recommendations at the last budget defence as regards the performance on 2020 budget and 2021 budget appropriation,” he said.
Buhari said that the committee’s visit was not to witch-hunt the corporation but to collaborate in the rail revitalisation agenda, which was the infrastructural development programme of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.
The Project’s Liaison Officer, China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC), Yakubu Adogie, said they were still encountering challenges with signalling and communications since the commissioning in June.
Adogie added that the company would be able to surmount the challenges before the first quarter of 2022.
He said that CCECC was working on plumbing, power supply and telecommunications on other stations within Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge railway project.
He said that despite the intervention of the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, in July and payment of compensation, the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) long room building had not been demolished to give way for the construction of the other two lines to connect Apapa port.
Photo: Managing Director of the corporation, Fidet Okhiria