The Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi, on Thursday, said the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government has approved $5.3bn for construction of rail from Ibadan, Oyo State to Kano
Amaechi made this known in Lagos at the 3rd Maritime Stakeholders’ Interactive Forum he hosted along with Saraki.
Amaechi also said that the Minister of State for Transportation, Sen. Gbemisola Saraki would personally be in charge of all maritime agencies.
He said that while Saraki was taking care of the maritime agencies, he would be focusing on the railway sector, NAN reports.
Amaechi decried the delay in the take-off of the 195 million dollars maritime security contract awarded to an Israeli firm, HSLI.
He said that the contractor had been coming up with excuses for the delay.
“This is not good enough because we are losing man-hours, human beings and business to insecurity on our waters,” he said.
On the railways, Amaechi said that government had approved 5.3 billion dollars for the construction of rail from Ibadan to Kano and was working towards connecting the rail to the seaport between December and January next year.
He also said that there would be a collaboration between the Nigerian Ports Authority and the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) to achieve efficiency, while more vessels would be bought.
On security, he said that they would be working with the army, navy and other security agencies.
He said that 10 per cent of issues on the waterways had to do with recklessness.
The minister noted that in 2016, the President gave approval for a single window, as Nigeria was the only country in West Africa without one.
Amaechi said that before the end of 2020, the country would get a single window.
He said it was a facility that allowed parties involved in trade and transport to lodge standardized information and documents with a single entry point to fulfil all import, export, and transit-related regulatory requirements.
Saraki, on her part, promised to work on issues associated with cadets having sea-time in Nigeria.
According to her, having chaired the Senate Committee on Marine Transport for four years, she has .an idea of what to do but will take her time because of new issues like insecurity.
“We are going to look at the issues of cadets not getting sea-time. We are also going to look at the issues of ship registry and cargo tracking note.
“We want to know how many jobs the maritime sector will create,” she said.