Se­nate seeks to re­vive rail­way cor­po­ra­tion

Daily Trust - - NEWS - By Tu­raki A. Has­san By Si­mon Echewo­fun Sun­day

A bill seek­ing to re­vive the co­matose Nige­rian Rail­ways Cor­po­ra­tion scaled sec­ond read­ing on the floor of the Se­nate yes­ter­day.

Spon­sored by Se­na­tor Andy Uba (PDP, Anam­bra), the bill is propos­ing re­peal and re-en­act the Nige­rian Rail­way Cor­po­ra­tion Act laws of the Fed­er­a­tion of Nigeria and to en­act the Nige­rian Rail­way Cor­po­ra­tion Act 2013 for the ef­fi­cient rail­way sys­tem in Nigeria and other mat­ters.

Pre­sent­ing the bill to his col­leagues, Se­na­tor Uba said the new law was aimed at re-es­tab­lish­ling the rail­way as a key driver in the trans­port sec­tor by trans­form­ing the Nigeria Rail­way Cor­po­ra­tion from a non- per­form­ing and debt rid­den cor­po­ra­tion to a dy­namic player in the trans­port sec­tor.

He said, “there is no doubt that a rail­way Act that meets the cur­rent re­al­i­ties is long over­due and this bill seeks to ad­dress the ex­ist­ing de­fi­cien­cies in the ex­ist­ing Act and bring the law that ad­min­is­ters rail­ways in con­form­ity with present day re­al­i­ties and In­ter­na­tional best prac­tices

Se­na­tor Uba lamented that the Abuja Elec­tric­ity Dis­tri­bu­tion Com­pany (AEDC) said it is work­ing on es­tab­lish­ing a cus­tomer call cen­tre, even as govern­ment has tasked it on ad­e­quate me­ter­ing. Nige­rian Rail­way Cor­po­ra­tion which used to be an ef­fec­tive and cheaper means of tran­por­ta­tion for car­riage of goods and pas­sen­gers in the early 60s and 70s was se­ri­ously ne­glected and aban­doned.

He fur­ther ex­plained that the coun­try has a lot of ben­e­fits to de­rive from the re­vival of the rail­way trans­port sys­tem, which he noted, would en­sure cheaper trans­porta­tion of per­sons, goods and an­i­mals which in turn brings about low­er­ing of the cost of liv­ing within the coun­try

Uba listed the driv­able ben­e­fits to in­clude gen­er­a­tion of 20,000 skilled

The Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor of the Dis­tri­bu­tion Com­pany (Disco), Mr Neil Croucher, dis­closed this re­cently when he and other man­age­ment of­fi­cials paid a cour­tesy visit to the Nige­rian Elec­tric­ity Reg­u­la­tory Com­mis­sion (NERC) in Abuja.

The aim of the

visit, jobs, about 40,000 semi- skilled jobs na­tion­wide and will also pro­vide a le­gal frame­work for the most ef­fec­tive, af­ford­able, en­ergy sav­ing and en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly form of trans­porta­tion of foods and ser­vices across the coun­try

Ac­cord­ing him, “one of the causes of dam­ages to our roads is the fre­quent use of the roads by heav­ily loaded long trucks. This is vividly ev­i­dent on Lokoja to Abuja road and many other roads in the coun­try”.

The bill was re­ferred to the Com­mit­tee on land Trans­port for fur­ther leg­isla­tive ac­tion to be re­turned in four weeks. ac­cord­ing to a state­ment is­sued on yes­ter­day by the Com­mis­sion’s Head of Pub­lic Af­fairs, Dr. Us­man Abba Arabi, was to in­ti­mate the Com­mis­sion on the com­pany’s vi­sion in the light of the ex­pec­ta­tions of elec­tric­ity cus­tomers and the in­dus­try at large.

Croucher, in his ad­dress dis­closed that the com­pany was in the process of es­tab­lish­ing a call cen­tre to deal with con­sumer re­lated is­sues.

The del­e­ga­tion also hinted of its de­sire to change the name of the com­pany and re­brand it for bet­ter and ef­fi­cient per­for­mance. Gover­nor Mukhtar Ra­malan Yero of Kaduna State has warned of­fi­cials of the State Board of In­ter­nal Rev­enue against tam­per­ing with in­ter­nally gen­er­ated rev­enues, say­ing that the govern­ment will no longer tol­er­ate di­ver­sion of its rev­enues.

Speak­ing yes­ter­day dur­ing the in­au­gu­ra­tion of Tax­payer Bio­met­ric Card Reg­is­tra­tion Sys­tem in Kaduna, Yero urged the board to en­sure that el­i­gi­ble people pay their tax in ac­cor­dance to the stip­u­la­tion of the law.

He said: “It is not un­fair to al­low your friends pay less tax. So, ev­ery­body should pay what the law stip­u­lates be­cause that is the only way we can move for­ward. If we want to de­velop our state we must pay tax be­cause there is no­body that does not gen­er­ate an in­come, how­ever lit­tle.”

While men­tion­ing that the state used to gen­er­ate N1­bil­lion from tax on a monthly ba­sis, he di­rected the board to widen its scope and get more people cap­tured in the new tax­payer bio-met­ric card so as to be able to raise its collection to N3 bil­lion monthly.

PHOTO

From left: Chair­per­son House Com­mit­tee on Di­as­pora, Abike Dabiri-Erewa; Fi­nance Min­is­ter/ Co­or­di­nat­ing Min­is­ter of Econ­omy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and Prof. Manny C. Aniebonam, dur­ing the com­mis­sion­ing of Global Dis­tance Learn­ing In­sti­tute in Abuja yes­ter­day. ABUBAKAR YAKUBU

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