Saturday, December 3, 2022

NRC loses N531m revenue due to inactivity at Abuja-Kaduna route – Okhiria

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Ibrahim Ramalan
Ibrahim Ramalan
Ibrahim Ramalan is a graduate of Mass Communications from the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria. With nearly a decade-long, active journalism practice, Mr Ramalan has been able to rise from a cub reporter to the exalted position of an editor; first as Arts Editor with the Blueprint Newspapers before resigning in 2019; second and presently as an Associate Editor of the Daily Nigerian online newspaper. He can be reached via [email protected], or www.facebook.com/ibrahim.ramalana, or @McRamalan on Twitter.
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The Managing Director, Nigerian Railway Corporation, NRC, Fidet Okhiria, has lamented that the corporation has recorded a shortfall of N531 million on the Abuja-Kaduna route from March to August 2022.

Recall that the Abuja-Kaduna train services was shut down following a terrorist attack on March 28 that led to the abduction of hundreds of passengers.

Addressing newsmen at the NRC’s Headquarters in Ebute Metta, Lagos on Wednesday, Mr Okhiria the incident impacted not just on the Abuja-Kaduna route but on all the train services nationwide.

Mr Okhiria added that the corporation had intended to increase the Abuja-Kaduna Standard Gauge trip while it would increase Lagos-Ibadan train to 10 trips; five to and five fro.

“We were already doing 10 trips per day on the Abuja-Kaduna and thought that by now, it would have increased to 12, six to and six fro; so that people can properly schedule their movement using the train.

“Regrettably, due to inactivity on the Abuja-Kaduna train which was caused by the last terrorist attack, we have recorded a shortfall of N531 million on the Abuja-Kaduna route from March to August 2022.

“The shortfall is from expected income, following the disruption occasioned by the train attack.

“While we are trying to resolve that and people are building confidence, we have this astronomical challenge in the cost of diesel from N300 plus to over N1000 per litre, ’’ he said.

According to him, due to this, the Lagos-Ibadan route dropped to two because of diesel cost. What we earn cannot pay for diesel.

“We have people providing security because of the situation all over the place. We have to hire separate security.

“We have to pay them, whether the train runs or not.

“We have to pay light bills and still have to buy diesel for the generators servicing the stations, amongst other things in spite of the inactivity along the Abuja-Kaduna train route and the drop on the Lagos-Ibadan train services.

“So you can see that what we earn is also eroded by operational cost. Even in the midst of challenges, we also get fund from NRC properties’ management,” Mr Okhiria said.

While explaining the movement of cargoes from the ports via the standard gauge rail, the managing director said that the movement of cargoes with the Lagos-Ibadan train would commence in November 2022..

He said that the NRC management had met with some maritime stakeholders, including APM Terminals and ENL Consortium, to ensure that freight runs on the standard gauge from both terminals to Papalanto and Abeokuta before November.

The NRC boss said that they were also working hard in ensuring that the access roads and freight yards were properly put in place so that the equipment for rolling stocks would be provided.

He noted that NRC would meet with some individuals proposing to use the warehouses and freight yards and was optimistic that before November they would start moving freights on the Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge rail.

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