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Society of Engineers Wants Nigerian Railway Corporation Privatised
Society of Engineers Wants Nigerian Govt to Privatize Railways
ABUJA, Nigeria - The Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) on Friday advocated privatisation of the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) to attract the requisite private sector investment and technology.
NRC takes delivery of new air-conditioned long distance coaches in Lagos
The NSE President, Mr Ademola Olorunfemi, who made the call when he briefed newsmen in Abuja, said that such technical expertise and financial wherewithal abound in the private sector. Olorunfemi advocated construction of double rail system that would include the much desired East-West track route to reduce travel times, optimise operations to facilitate private investment in the rail system.
"One aspect of our transport system that must be given the required attention in the interest of our economy is the railway. Its optimal performance will no doubt lessen traffic on our roads thereby extending the lifespan of roads in addition to the gross reduction of cases of road mishaps.
"We must move as a top railway operator on the African continent and the fabrication and local manufacture of equipment by indigenous firms should be encouraged and revamped. Facilities available in NRC workshops can be improved for this purpose and outsourced to competent and tested engineering firms. This is where the local content bill is necessary in the railways industry," he said.
He said this would attract local manufacturers and foreign companies to set up plants in Nigeria, thereby creating employment opportunities thus enabling the local production of new wagons and coaches under a well-packaged partnership structure.
Olorunfemi recommended the speedy amendment of the Railway Act through the proposed Railway Bill because the passage of the bill would be a major panacea for its development. He said law would open the railway transport sub-sector to reputable and technically experienced railway investors under a well-structured public private partnership for an optimal railway operation in Nigeria.
The president also called for the establishment of a National Council for Science Engineering Technology and Innovation to drive forward the science, engineering development and economic transformation in the country. He further called on the 36 states to establish the council to foster science and technology innovation in the country.
Olorunfemi said every nation that became great in the last three centuries mastered science engineering technology and innovation.
"This is because the advances and application of science, engineering, technology and innovation (SETI) over the centuries have led to the physical and economic development of such nations. Most countries that applied SETI as a driving force in their industrialisation process with or without natural resource endowment excelled within a very short time so Nigeria cannot jettison the measure.
"This is the norm; science, engineering technology and innovation are available all over the world. What makes the difference is the political will to place SETI in the driver’s seat by the leadership of the country."