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Senate Seeks to Revamp Rail Transport by NRC Amendment Bill

The Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on Monday buttressed its desire to revamp the Nigerian rail sector through the provision of a strong rail transportlegislative framework.

This position was made known at a one day public hearing on the Nigerian Railway Act Amendment Bill 2015, that sought to repeal and reenact the 1955 version.

Describing it as one of the ‘high priority bills of the National Assembly’, Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki stated that the existing laws guiding the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) had become old, with many experts calling for a separation of the regulatory and operative responsibilities while also allowing room for state and private investor participation.

Speaking on the importance of the bill, Saraki said, ‘The implications are already significant and direct, from the change it would bring to agriculture, mining, oil and gas, labour, transportation and urban planning to the sheer number of jobs that the construction and investment potential in this area holds. 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. It is therefore with delight that I call on all of you to support this effort at changing the outlook of our rail system and our econ my as a whole by contributing positively to this public hearing.’

Chairman of the Senate Committee on Land Transport, Senator Olugbenga Ashafa in his address noted that the repealing and reenacting of the senate bill was targeted at revitalizing and enhancing the operational framework of the NRC while removing the impediments that hindered the international best practices within the rail transport sector.

Emphasizing the importance of rail transport in Nigerian socioeconomic landscape, Senator Ashafa also noted that this form of transportation is the strong base of social and industrial activities in both developed and developing countries. ‘This country has a lot of benefits to derive from the revival of the railway transport system. If the obsolete Act is carefully repealed and overhauled, there is no doubt that the populace will enjoy cheaper means of transporting goods and raw materials; also the incessant damage to our roads and highways by the heavy duty trucks will be reduced,’ Senator Ashafa said.

The public hearing featured suggestions, contributions, observations of the amended bill from various stakeholders directly and indirectly associated with the Nigerian railway sector including representatives of the Honourable Ministers of Transport, Power and Steel, Justice and Finance as well as various labour groups, construction companies and technical associations.

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The Senate | Federal Republic of Nigeria | National Assembly Complex | Three Arms Zone, PMB 141, Abuja | Nigeria