The Minister of State for Transportation, Gbemisola Saraki, says the Federal Government is unbundling and commercialising the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) to optimise its operations and advance private sector participation.
Mrs Saraki spoke at the Nigeria International Partnership Forum in Paris.
She said the unbundling would drive competition in the industry, enhance service delivery for customers and improve infrastructure and other asset maintenance.
She told potential foreign investors at the event to explore investment in the sector, saying that the unbundling would reposition the corporation for effective management and efficient service delivery.
The minister said that the NRC would be unbundled into four subsidiaries, namely: Regulatory, Infrastructure (network creation, upgrade and maintenance) Operations and Services (the rolling stock operations, rolling stock creation and procurement and rolling stock maintenance).
“There have been renewed commitments to railway transport as a key component for socio-economic transformation.
“Of note is the 25-year strategic plan targeted at the rehabilitation of all the existing narrow gauge rail lines, construction of new standard gauge lines and connection to all sea ports.
“There are also connections to state capitals, mining and agricultural clusters and technological hubs by rail, as well as their operation and maintenance in the country.
“This has led to some success stories such as the commissioning of the Abuja-Kaduna, Warri–Itakpe and the Lagos-Ibadan rail lines, as well as the wagon assembly plant in Ogun State,” she said.
According to Mrs Saraki, “these are now all operational for both commercial and passenger activities”.
Mrs Saraki said Nigeria’s rail projects have the capacity to generate sustained freight growth of a 7.9 per cent from 2021 to 2025.
On the maritime sector potential, the minister said that Nigeria had the second longest length of waterways in Africa, covering about 853km.