Rail Transport to Generate Huge Revenue for FCT-Minister

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Abuja-light-rail-e1431026678750The on-going rail transportation project in the Federal Capital
Territory has the potential of fast tracking the development of Abuja
and generates huge revenue for government when eventually it becomes
operational.

The FCT Minister, Malam Muhammad Musa Bello expressed this optimism on
Tuesday in his office, while receiving a delegation of Nigeria
Infrastructure Advisory Facility (NIAF) led by its Technical Team
Leader, Mr. Michael Mutter, who was in his office to make
presentation on public transportation in the Territory.

The minister reiterated that the entire rail system, from the
signaling, powering, managing the investments on the rail corridor and
of course the various rail stations are all aspects of the system that
are very significant in terms of investments with huge potential for
revenue generation.

Malam Bello specifically stated that the transit oriented development,
which has the capacity to service over 1.5 million people daily along
the eastern and western corridors of the FCT, including the feeder
system along the Karshi/Nyanya axis, would play a very significant
role in the city in the near and far future.

“It’s something that I find very interesting. We are
talking of areas of almost 1.5 million people, if you look at the
eastern and western corridors, including the feeder system and the
Karshi Nyanya axis. I’m sure other feeder systems will also come in
the areas not captured here”.

The minister, who noted that the Administration was working to avoid
some of the pitfalls it encountered in the management of the bus
system, said a lot of work has been done in the rail transportation
policy with all the other related items captured in the draft paper
that has been sent to the National Assembly.

While appreciating the support the FCT Administration has been
receiving from NIAF, the minister assured that his administration
would support the international donor agency to achieve more results.

He, however, called on NIAF to help in carrying out a study by giving
attention to the satellite towns in terms of transportation to better
the lives of residents dwelling in such areas.

The minister emphasized that his administration intends to give
priority attention to the provision of basic infrastructure in the
satellite towns, considering the huge population resident in such
places.

He urged NIAF to take a closer look at the operations of the Abuja
Urban Mass Transit Company (AUMTCO) to give professional advice on
how to improve their services, because efficient mass transportation
is very significant to the smooth running of every municipality.

Speaking further on the challenges facing the operation of Bus Rapid
Transit system in the FCT, the minister lamented that its maintenance
has been quite stressful, owing to the quality of the buses as well
their suitability for the terrain they are operating.

“Even if the buses were up and doing, we’ve realised that the way the
company is structured now, their revenue stream cannot pay for their
expenses. so, these are the challenges that we are facing”, he added.

“Especially on the Central Business District to Masaka corridor, I’ve
read some reports from the FCT Engineering Department, from Federal
Road Safety Commission as well as the Federal Ministry of
Transportation, the general feeling is that the road as presently
designed is not wide enough to meet up on the requirements of BRT
operation. It’s not as wide as the 10 lanes that we have on the Kubwa
and Airport Expressways. These are areas that people have raised
concerns,” he stressed.

“But, in overall, I’m so pleased that we are relating and partnering
with a very reputable organization like yours, with the full support
of the UK AID and also the government of the United Kingdom. I’m happy
that you consider the FCT as one of your best clients,” the minister
remarked.

During the presentation, the Technical Team Leader of the Nigeria
Infrastructure Advisory Facility (NIAF), Mr. Michael Mutter said that
the project is funded by the British government through the Department
for International Development but implemented by Adam Smith
International.

Mr. Mutter revealed that NIAF has been able to undertake the review of
the Legal and Regulatory Framework for the provision of BMT in the
FCT; Drafting the Template Bus Operator Licence; Travel Demand Surveys
as well as establishment of a Rail Safety Regulatory Unit.

According to him, Viability Study for BMT Operations along the Central
Business District (CBD)-Masaka routes; Conceptual Design for the BMT
infrastructure on the CBD-Masaka and CBD-Suleja routes as well as
Outline Business Case for the Abuja Light rail Lots 1 and 3 have all
been completed.

FCT Permanent Secretary, Dr. Babatope Ajakiaye and some senior FCT
Administration officials, particularly from the FCT Transportation
Secretariat also attended the presentation session.

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