NASS Addresses NRC Financial Challenges

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By; KAYODE ATOFOLAKI, Lagos.
The joint Senate and House Committee on Land Transport said it is determined to address current challenges facing the Nigerian Railway Corporation, NRC.
 
Mr Gbenga Ashafa, the Chairman Senate Committee on Land Transport gave the assurance  during the oversight visit to the NRC Headquarters, Ebutte Meta, Lagos.
 
Ashafa said that the joint committee was aware of the numerous challenges of the corporation and was determined to take necessary legislative actions to address them.
“The committee is aware of the numerous challenges of NRC, the house will take necessary actions to address those that require our intervention.
 
“The need for the oversight visit is to enable us review how the finance of the corporation has been managed so far in the current budget circle. We need to note the augmentations to be made in the 2017 budget circle”, he said.
 
According to him, the National Assembly has observed from the last budget circle that the main ministry mostly takes up most of the projects that should be done by the corporation.
 
He noted that there was no capital release to the NRC according to the submission from the corporation, adding that the committee was disposed to consider all options in ensuring NRC was well funded.
 
Mr Fidet Okhiria, the Managing Director (MD), NRC earlier told the committee that the corporation has not receive over N330 000, 000 earmarked for NRC capital project in the 2016 budget.
 
Okhiria said that NRC was facing serious financial challenges, obsolete machineries and workshop equipment.
“To avoid falling back to the dark days of the corporation that brought about stoppage of train services through zero budgeting for the corporation, critical infrastructure has to be put in place.
 
“I want to appeal to the distinguished Senators and members of the House of Representatives to come to our assistance as the rail was critical to economic development.
 
“It also has capacity to bring down cost of production if sustained and ensure not only robust yearly allocation but prompt budgetary releases to accomplish set goals,” the MD said.
 
The Managing Director said that NRC if well funded, would support economic development of the country, ensure safe, efficient and cost effective transport services and make rail transport the backbone of land transportation in Nigeria.

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