Senator Gbenga Ashafa (APC-Lagos East) said on Monday that overhauling the obsolete Act establishing the Nigerian Railway Corporation would ensure cheaper means of transportation of goods and services in the country.
Ashafa, who is the chairman, Senate Committee on Land Transport, stated this in Abuja on Monday at a one-day public hearing on the Nigerian Railway Corporation Act.
He said the amendment of the Act was pertinent as it would remove all the impediments that had hindered the actualisation of an effective rail system in the country over the years.
“The repeal and re-enactment of this bill is targeted at revitalising and enhancing the operational framework and removal of the impediments that hinder the international best practices within the rail transport sector.
“Rail transport is the strong base of social and industrial activities in both developed and developing countries.
“However, it appears that the dream of having efficient rail transport here in Nigeria is elusive.
“This country has a lot of benefits to derive from the revival of the railway transport system.
“If the obsolete Act is carefully repealed and overhauled, there is no doubt that the populace will enjoy cheaper means of transporting goods and raw materials.
“Also the incessant damage to our roads and highways by heavy trucks would be reduced.
“It is sad to note that until the inception of civilian administration in 1999, little investments or next to no investments were made in the Nigerian rail sector from the mid 1980s when the railway corporation was declared bankrupt.”
Ashafa said it was time to enact an Act that would stand the test of time and open the sector up to private investment and concessioning.
He, therefore, called on all stakeholders to contribute meaningfully to the amendment of the Act.
In his remark, the president of the Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki, who declared the public hearing open, pledged the commitment of the Senate to passing the bill when presented for the third reading.