• Tuesday, May 21, 2024
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Southwest plans 44-city rail network to boost industries, GDP by 50%— DAWN Commission

Southwest plans 44-city rail network to boost industries, GDP by 50%— DAWN Commission

Six Southwest states will construct a rail network that connects 44 cities and towns to attract more investments, boost industrialisation and GDP, said the Development Agenda for Western Nigeria (DAWN) Commission.

This is part of economic measures taken to wean some South-west states from a continued reliance on the monthly revenue from the Federal Accounts Allocation Committee ( FAAC). Lagos and Ogun states have attracted over 80 percent of manufacturing firms in the last decade. Investors say they prefer the two states due to proximity to market and availability of infrastructure that aids production.

Speaking at the Cocoa House, Dugbe Ibadan Headquarters of the DAWN Commission, which is the Secretariat for the Southwest Governors’ Forum on Friday, Seye Oyeleye, director general of the DAWN Commission, said the commission was confident that governors of the region would pool resources for the provision of new infrastructures and upgrade of existing ones to attract new investments and boost the gross domestic product by 50 percent.

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While addressing some senior journalists in the Southwest region under the aegis of a newly-formed Forum of Regional Editors of Nigeria (FOREN), Oyeleye expressed worries on the possible impediments that 1955 Raliway Act could create in terms of Exclusive List constitutional clauses allowing only the Federal Government to construct inter-state railways.

He said right people within the corridors of power were being engaged, assuring that the link roads such as Araromi-seaside-akodoLekki road between Ondo and Lagos states; Lekki-epeIjebu- Ode- Ore road that links Lagos, Ogun and Ondo states, and Badagry expressway-agbara- Igbesa-atanOta, among others, would continue as scheduled to boost the regional integration agenda and economy at large. “We need a country that is structured along the line of development. Nigeria needs to restructure in line of development. With the revenue sharing formula that we operate now, the states will perpetually be under the Federal Government.

“If railway track is built to connect the Southwest’s 44 cities and towns as those that designed it for us said the project will raise the gross domestic product of this region by over 50% when completed, then we need to confront everything that is not making this possible.

“We have tied ourselves to a constitution that is hindering development and this must change. It is in the interest of Nigeria that the Southwest region should develop. If the region is developed, the Federal Government will make more money from here.”

Speaking on the future of the country as regards over dependence on crude oil earnings and what other Southwest states could do to exploit the daily Lagos food market which he put at over N4 billion, Oyeleye said “At the global level, technology is driving the process so much that most of the countries that rely on oil producing nations for petrol and diesel are thinking of electronic-powered vehicles.

“For instance, the prime minister of the United Kingdom has called out his

countrymen to warm up for total switching to electronic vehicles by 2030. No doubts, many other countries of the world would follow and this would tell negatively on the economies of countries that rely mostly on oil to survive. The first thing that should be on the front burner for Nigeria now is infrastructural developments like rail, road and power.

“So far, Southwest Governors, regardless of their political lineage, have bought fully into the drive for regional integration and development because they know it will enrich the region by increasing the IGR of the various states. The truth is that there cannot be increase in the IGR if there is no infrastructure.

“For instance, if the six states in the Southwest can be linked by rail and the roads are good, the development would attract investors and there would be economic cooperation. Today, it is no more news that residents of Lagos alone consume food items worth over N4 billion daily. If there is a semblance of infrastructural developments in neighboring states, they will be earning so much in revenue from farm produce sold in Lagos,” he said.