Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, has said the Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge rail line will commence full commercial operation in January next year.
He said on Friday that the $1.6bn railway project would be fully completed in December this year 2021.
He spoke during a television programme on AIT, which was attended virtually by the Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola.
The transportation minister said he would partner Fashola and Lagos State Government to move cargoes from roads to rail.
Amaechi said this would start with the new Lagos-Ibadan rail line.
He said, “I intend to approach him (Fashola) in January and approach the Lagos State governor so that we can see how we can deal with Apapa. Why I said that is because by December to first or second week in January, we should have completed the Lagos-Ibadan.
“Then if we do, there will be a need to decide what vehicles can go to Lagos and the capacity of such vehicles or trucks.”
Amaechi added, “If we do that, we can then transfer all the cargoes that come from Apapa seaport to the railway. We believe we could transfer that up till Ibadan while we are still constructing the rail line from Ibadan to Kano.”
Apart from movement of heavy cargoes, he said the new rail line would also help decongest major cities in Lagos as many people could live in Ibadan and work in Lagos.
The minister stated that in two to three years, the Ibadan-Kano rail line would have been substantially done to move more cargoes on the rail line.
He said, “In the next two to three years, we will see how much we would have tried to complete the Ibadan to Kano line. The more we are able to move these cargoes out of the road, then we can save our roads.
“Similarly, the same thing will happen from Port Harcourt to Maiduguri. So, I agree completely with the works minister, Babatunde Fashola, and I say to Nigerians to be more patient with us and allow us work to complete the projects.”
Fashola, while responding to a question, said Nigerian roads would not last without functional rail lines.
“I am his biggest champion when he (Amaechi) is presenting his request in the cabinet for the rails because I know that without the rail the roads will not last,” Fashola said.
He added, “The tankers are plying excess cargo; they are moving 60,000 tonnes instead of 33,000, 40,000 or 45,000 tonnes maximum. So, the best way is to move all that cargo into the tracks.
“That is what happens in countries we want to be like and that is where we are heading. So, he (Amaechi) has my support.”
Buhari presents 2023 budget proposal of N20.5tn to National Assembly
President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday presented 2023 appropriation bill of N20.5tn to the National Assembly, the last budget to be put together by his administration before bowing out of office in May 29 next year.
He made the budget presentation to the joint session of the National Assembly at the temporary chamber of the House of Representatives.
The National Assembly had earlier approved the medium-term expenditure framework (MTEF) and fiscal strategy paper (FSP) — parameters on which the 2023 budget will be framed.
Buhari said the 2023 transition budget was designed to address critical issues and lay a solid foundation for the incoming administration.
Christened ‘Budget of Fiscal Consolidation and Transition’, the President said the revenue generation should reach about N16.87tn.
A breakdown of the budget shows that N744.11bn was earmarked for statutory transfers; N8.27tn for non-debt recurrent costs; N1.1tn for overhead costs, and N5.35 trillion for capital expenditure.
Buhari said, “We expect the total fiscal operations of the federal government to result in a deficit of N10.78tn.”
“This represents 4.78 per cent of estimated GDP, slightly above the 3 percent threshold set by the Fiscal Responsibility Act 2007.
“As envisaged by the law, we need to exceed this threshold considering the need to continue to tackle the existential security challenges facing the country.”
Eid-el-Maulud: FG declares Monday public holiday
The Federal Government has declared Monday public holiday to mark this year’s Eid-ul-Mawlud celebration in commemoration of the birth of Prophet Muhammad.
Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, who made this declaration on behalf of the Federal Government, congratulated all Muslims both at home and in the Diaspora for witnessing this year’s occasion.
Aregbesola, in a statement signed by the Ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Shuaib Belgore, on Thursday, admonished Nigerians to imbibe the spirit of love, patience, tolerance and perseverance which are deep spiritual virtues and which Prophet Muhammad exemplified, adding that doing so would guarantee peace, security and harmony in the country.
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The statement read in part: “Ogbeni Aregbesola enjoins Nigerians, particularly Muslims, to refrain from violence, lawlessness and other acts of criminality.
“As the indisputable leader of our race, we must demonstrate responsible leadership in Africa.”
He urged Nigerians to be security conscious, asking them to report any suspicious persons or activities to the nearest security agency and through the N-Alert application on Android and IOS, saying “when you see something do N-Alert, as this would elicit prompt response from security agents.”
Bombs were going off frequently in cities when I came in – Buhari
President Muhammadu Buhari has said he inherited a country with bombs detonating frequently in cities of Nigeria.
He disclosed this during the passing-out parade and inauguration of cadets of regular Course 69 of the Nigerian Defence Academy, NDA, in Kaduna on Thursday.
He, however, said his administration had been able to manage the country’s security crisis since assuming office in 2015.
“When this government came in 2015, we inherited a country at a crossroads with bombs going off with frightening frequency even in our cities, and we came in to manage the crisis,” he said.
Buhari called on the cadets to replicate the spirit of social cohesion they learned at the NDA and be incorruptible models to society.
He stressed that the cadets emerged in the era of expanding global security threats.
A total of 239 cadets, including those from sister African countries such as Liberia, Sierra Leone, Niger Republic, Chad, and Uganda are passing out from the Academy as junior military officers.
Among the dignitaries present are service chiefs and the Inspector General of Police, Usman Alkali; Senate President Ahmed Lawan; the governors of Niger and Kaduna States, as well as National Assembly members.
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