By Silas Onuoha
The Minister of Transportation, Mu’azu Jaji Sambo has called for the unbundling of the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) in line with the vision and objectives of Government’s current reforms in the transportation sector.
The Minister said as it is presently constituted, the Nigerian railway Corporation (NRC) cannot operate optimally, thus necessary reforms and unbundling have become imperative.
The Minister who was addressing the management team of the Ministry of Finance Incorporated (MOFI), led on a visit to him by the CEO, Dr. Armstrong katang, charged MOFI to drive the unbundling of the NRC to make it more economically viable while offering world class services to Nigerians.
“One of the things I will like to see as the Minister of Transportation, through MOFI is the unbundling of the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC). There is a Committee set up to unbundle NRC and I will urge you to work with the existing Committee”.
The Ministry of Finance Incorporated (MOFI) was incorporated under the provisions of Sections 2 and 3 of the Ministry of Finance Incorporated (MOFI) Act of 1959 as an asset holding company under the Federal Ministry of Finance. MOFI is the sole manager of all Federal Government investment interests, estates, easement and rights.
The Minister made reference to the reforms implemented in the ports and the benefits these have brought, noting that such should be carried out in railway sector.
According to him.
“The Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC), the way it is currently, is the way the ports were prior to concession, prior to the reforms of 2005. Today, even the Nigeria Ports authority (NPA) workers are happier about how NPA is today compared to how it was prior to the reforms. This means the reformed NPA is generating more revenues to support its operations and also support its workforce and its pensioners”.
The Minister who assuaged the fear of job loss as a result of the unbundling said, “I don’t want the NRC staff to see the unbundling of the NRC as a threat to their jobs. If we have a better performing NRC, then we are going to have better salaries for its workers, better working conditions for its workers, more revenue for the FG and therefore the ability to even build more rail networks”.
Sambo pointed out that the issue of encroachment on railway property will soon be a thing of the past as “MOFI was berthed for a specific reason and that reason is for the Federal Government to take control of its assets and create optimum value for these assets”.
In his contribution, the Minister of State for Transportation, Prince Ademola Adegoroye, extolled the capabilities of the Managing Director, MOFI, Dr. Armstrong, saying he has full confidence that the MOFI team will deliver on the job.
Also speaking, the Permanent Secretary, Dr. Magdalene Ajani, noted that the MOFI team being made up of young and intelligent people has satisfied the yearning of Nigerians to have young people in positions of responsibility. She assured the MOFI team of the cooperation of the Ministry in their assignment.
Speaking earlier, the Chief Executive Officer, MOFI, Dr. Armstrong Katang, stated that the visit was to discuss how to create a more effective and efficient partnership between MOFI and the Ministry of Transportation.
Katang said the areas that have been identified for collaboration with the Ministry of Transportation included enumerating and valuing the Nigerian Railway Corporation to ensure that its value is captured in line with the current realities.
According to him, other areas included enumerating and capturing other critical assets within the Ministry especially its infrastructure assets and establishing a task force with representation from the Ministry of Transportation and Ministry of Finance, with clear terms of reverence to help with the identified assignments.