The Minister of Transportation, Engr. Mu’azu Sambo has presented a budget of N92.6 billion to the Joint Committee of the Senate and the House of Representatives on Land and Marine Transport for the ministry and its agencies for the fiscal year 2023.
The minister, who made this known at the budget presentation yesterday (November 3, 2022) at the National Assembly in Abuja, also presented the 2022 budget performance, of the ministry which was N147,549,080,677, out of which N52,134,727,253.22 representing 35.33 per cent has been released and N38,904,208,345 has been utilised as of October 25, 2022.
Also, he informed that the ministry, through the support of the joint committee, is implementing the Nigeria Railway Modernisation Project and progressively expanding the railway network through yearly budgetary appropriations, following the challenges being faced in securing counterpart funding through loans.
Furthermore, he disclosed that the implementation of the Kaduna-Kano-Port Harcourt-Maidugiri and Kano-Maradi segments of the project is ongoing with the Federal Government counterpart funding in the 2022 appropriation while expecting the Federal Ministry of Finance to conclude negotiations of the loans with the Chinese, Portuguese and Turkish infrastructure development finance institutions implementing the projects.
While soliciting favourable budget consideration, Sambo said: “Permit me to also report that the Lagos-Ibadan segment of the Lagos- Kano and Itakpe-Warri railway projects are fully operational and receiving patronage from the general public. To reach practical completion on these projects, some aspects, including the construction of overpass bridges, connection to the national grid and other ancillary provisions have to be completed. Therefore, adequate funds need to be provided in the 2023 budget to facilitate the practical completion of the projects”.
On the abducted Abuja-Kaduna train passengers, Sambo said: “While recording successes achieved in the railway sub-sector, permit me to also mention the sad incident on the Abuja-Kaduna rail. With the release of those abducted, the ministry plans to commence operation on the line, but not without taking proper precautions by installing necessary security gadgets to monitor the line and forestall a reoccurrence. We hope that distinguished senators and honourable members would assist the ministry in achieving this plan.”
The minister further emphasised that, as part of its mandate, the ministry has continued to pursue the implementation of government policies in the land transport sub-sector in the country, including issues relating to the ECOWAS-CEDEAO protocols and conventions entered into relating to the sub-sector.
Speaking on the National Freight Offices, Sambo said: “We have achieved significant progress in completing the ongoing National Freight Offices at Illela, Jibiya and Idiroko, in addition to other land transport projects and, with your support, the capturing of all these projects and programmes as proposed before you in the 2023 budget proposal will assist us further towards actualising the desired goals”.
Earlier, the chairman, National Assembly Committee on Land and Marine, Sen. Danjuma Goje expressed dismay that the budget was not implemented within the budget year, despite early approval by the National Assembly.
“You see, the National Assembly has been able to achieve approval of the budgets within the budget circle. For three years, we have been able to approve these budgets by the end of December. Surprisingly, the implementation of the budget does not correspond with the urgency with which we approve these budgets,” he said.
While assuring that the committees will support the minister and the agencies to succeed, Goje enjoined them to see that the budget is implemented faithfully “to deliver government intentions and democracy dividends to Nigerians”.