Transportation Ministry’s N46.6 Billion Budget Deserved – Minister

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NASS Transport
The Minister of Transportation, Sen. Said Alkali (middle), the ministry’s permanent secretary, Dr. Magdalene Ajani, other directors and heads of agencies under the ministry during the budget proposal defense at the National Assembly.

The Minister of Transportation, Sen. Said Alkali has defended the 2024 fiscal budget of N46,589,785,975 proposed for the ministry and its agencies.

Addressing the Joint Committee of the Senate and the House of Representatives on Land Transport yesterday, Alkali emphasised the need for strategic investments to fortify the nation’s transportation sector.

During the budget defence at the National Assembly, Alkali not only presented the 2024 budget but also delved into the 2023 budget performance. Out of the N91,474,422,746 allocated for capital appropriation in 2023, N53,405,649,354 (58.38 per cent) has been released, with N47,426,760,923 already utilised as of November 29, 2023. He detailed the allocation and utilisation of overhead expenditure funds, highlighting financial transparency.

Alkali underscored the significance of the Railway Modernisation Programme initiated by the previous administration and affirmed the current government’s commitment to furthering these achievements. President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s administration specifically created the Ministry of Transportation, focusing on land transportation encompassing road and rail, to bridge infrastructural gaps and bolster economic growth.

Expressing ambitious plans for the transportation and logistics value chain, Alkali envisioned connecting pivotal industrial and agricultural hubs with railway networks. He outlined his determination to enhance the country’s transportation system, addressing the critical needs of rail infrastructure for a more efficient, valuable and sustainable transport system. However, he acknowledged the substantial funding gap as a formidable challenge.

Despite challenges, Alkali outlined the ministry’s plans to connect around 6,000 kilometres of standard gauge railways, rehabilitate existing 3,505 kilometres of narrow-gauge lines, and reach vital economic zones. To achieve this, the Ministry is actively seeking investments, including institutional and private sector funds from international development financing entities. Alkali acknowledged the challenges faced in securing international funds, citing instances where ongoing projects were impeded by funding constraints.

In the quest for favourable budget consideration, Alkali requested special intervention funding for expanding railway networks – a catalyst for economic development. He emphasised the need for cooperation and highlighted the ministry’s efforts in implementing government policies in the Land Transport Sub-sector, including collaborations with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to achieve transport interconnectivity in the sub-region.

Chairman of the joint committee, Sen. Mohammed Aliero welcomed attendees and commended President Ahmed Tinubu for establishing the Ministry of Land Transport, a first in the country’s history. Aliero stressed the crucial role of transportation infrastructure in the nation’s progress and assured support for the minister and agencies.

As the budget defense concluded, Aliero urged the minister and agencies to faithfully implement the approved budget, aligning with the President’s ‘Renewed Hope’ agenda and delivering tangible benefits to Nigerians, particularly in the rail transport sector and mass transit.

In summary, Alkali passionately advocated for a substantial budget to fortify the Ministry of Transportation, addressing current challenges and outlining ambitious plans for the future. The budget defense showcased transparency, commitment to development and a collective vision for advancing Nigeria’s transportation infrastructure.

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