The federal government has commenced in earnest the planned unbundling of the over 100 years old Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC).
This bold step was taken recently with the Minister of State for Transportation, Senator Gbemisola Saraki chairing the first meeting of the Ministerial Committee on the unbundling of the corporation.
Addressing the members drawn from private and public sectors, Senator Gbemisola Saraki reiterated the determination of the Federal Government to reform the railway system to prepare the nation for emerging need for regional connectivity.
According to the Minister, the emergency of African Continental Free Trade Area compels the need to open up the railway system to allow for necessary private sector investment and expertise. Citing pressing needs to bridge the infrastructural gap, the Minister noted that the committee is to tap into wealth of experience of private sector operators in creating four or more entities out of the present NRC.
The Minister stated that the committee will integrate experience of other countries that have successfully unbundle their railway system in the committee work even as she assures Nigerians that the exercise will be fast tracked through integration of the National Assembly even before the unbundling Bill will reach the legislators.
Senator Gbemisola Saraki further announced inclusion into the committee of private sector members namely Mr Rowland Ataguba, Managing Director of London based Bethelem Rail Infrastructure Limited; Olawale Rasheed, CEO of African Railway Consulting Limited and Publisher of Railway Business Magazine, Bernard Obika of Escher Silverman Limited and Marcus Mukoro, CEO of US based Reliance Rail International.
Public sectors members are drawn from the ministry and other relevant agencies including the Nigerian Railway Corporation.
At the maiden meeting, the committee received presentations from Anderson KPMG and CPCS. The various firms made submission on what they consider ideal structures for the unbundling of the NRC.