Minister proposes N92.6bn transportation budget for 2023
Mu’azu Jaji Sambo, the minister of transportation, has presented a budget of over N92.6 billion to the joint committee of the senate and the house of representatives on land and marine transport for the 2023 fiscal year.
The budget, which covers for the ministry and its agencies, was presented on Thursday in Abuja.
Giving the performance account of the 2022 budget, Sambo said that as of 25th October 2022, only N52,134,727,253.22 representing 35.33 percent of the N147,549,080,677 budget has been released and N38,904,208,345 has been used.
He said the ministry is implementing the Nigeria railway modernisation project and expanding the railway network through yearly budgetary appropriations, following the challenges being faced in securing counterpart funding through loans.
According to him, the implementation of the Kaduna-Kano, Port Harcourt- Maidugiri and Kano-Maradi segments of the railway modernisation is ongoing with the Federal Government counterpart funding in the 2022 appropriation.
He said the government is still expecting the Federal Ministry of Finance to conclude negotiations of the loans with the infrastructure development finance institutions of Chinese, Portuguese and Turkish origin to implement the projects.
The minister however said that the Lagos-Ibadan segment of the Lagos-Kano and Itakpe to Warri railway project is fully operational and receiving patronage from the general public.
“To reach practical completion on these projects, some aspects of works, 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,” the minister said.
On the unfortunate incident on Abuja-Kaduna bound train, he said the ministry plans to commence operation on the Abuja-Kaduna rail line to install necessary security gadgets to monitor the line and forestall a reoccurrence of any security threat to passengers’ safety.
Sambo said 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 Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) protocols and conventions entered into in respect of the sub-sector.
He disclosed that the ministry has achieved significant progress in completing the ongoing national freight offices at Iiela Jibiya and Idiroko in addition to other land transport projects.
He further solicited the support of the committee in actualising the targets of the Ministry in the 2023 fiscal year.
Responding, Danjuma Goje, the chairman of the National Assembly committee on land and marine, frowned at the inability of the ministry to fully implement the 2022 budget despite early approval by the National Assembly.