FG Moves To Ban Trucks On Lagos/Ibadan Highway, Goods To Be Moved By Rail

FG Moves To Ban Trucks On Lagos/Ibadan Highway, Goods To Be Moved By Rail

…as Buhari holds special FEC session over 2019 budget

By Anule Emmanuel Abuja

The
Federal Government has concluded arrangements to compel persons
transporting cargo along the Lagos/Ibadan highway in trucks and heavy
duty vehicles to use the rail system.

Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi, said the idea is to preserve Lagos/Ibadan road when the rail reconstruction is completed.

Amaechi
stated this while briefing State House Correspondents after the Federal
Executive Council (FEC) meeting presided over by Vice President Yemi
Osinbajo at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

According to the
minister, effective from June 2019, the Federal Government would have
completed work on the rail project linking the Western and Northern axis
to begin the transportation of cargo.

“We believe that by next
year, we will begin to encourage those who transport by trucks between
Lagos and Ibadan to use the rail. We believe that before the end of
June, we will start running from January but, we may not be able to
carry enough cargo, we will be able to do that by June/July.

“At
that point, most of the trucks carrying cargo going to Ibadan must be on
the rail, so that we can save the Lagos/Ibadan road,” the minister
stressed.

The Transport Minister said FEC approved contract for
the building of a freight office in Jibia, a border town between Kastina
State and Niger Republic.

He said: “We awarded the national
freight office in Jibia for the sum of N551,810,060 and the contract is
to last for 36 weeks. You know that the national freight office is
usually located at border post. So, the border post between Katsina and
Niger Republic, that is where it is located.”
Meanwhile, President
Muhammadu Buhari will, tomorrow, preside over a ‘special’ FEC, to
consider the draft 2019 appropriation bill.

Special Adviser on
Media and Publicity to the President, Mr. Femi Adesina, who spoke at the
briefing joined by Amaechi, the Minister of Power, Works and Housing,
Babatunde Fashola, and the Minister of Sports and Youth Development,
Solomon Dalung, said the ‘Special FEC’ will deliberate solely on 2019
draft budget proposal.

The Minister of Budget and National
Planning, Udoma Udoma, on 18th October at the consultative forum on the
Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP)
2019 to 2021, said the Federal Government plans to submit a leaner 2019
budget to the National Assembly before the end of November.

Udoma
said government was optimistic of achieving the 2.3 million barrels a
day target with production now rising to about 2.15 million barrels a
day.
The country’s oil output has since dropped to about 1.9 million barrels a day.

The Federal Government had proposed an oil price benchmark of $50 per barrel in the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP).

According
to the Budget Minister, with a significant rise in the price above $80
per barrel currently, government moved the oil price benchmark to $60 a
barrel.

Udoma said N305 was proposed as exchange rate to the
dollar, with government working to keep inflation down after slight
increases in the last two months on the heels of 18 months’ consecutive
decline.

The projected target gross domestic product (GDP) growth
rate for the 2019 budget was put at 3.01 per cent, reduced from 4.5 per
cent in the ERGP; 3.6 per cent in 2020 and 3.9 per cent in 2021.

“Growth
is expected to increase from 0.8 per cent in 2017 to 2.1 per cent this
year and 3.01 per cent in 2019 with the continued implementation of the
ERGP in 2019 and improved outlook for oil prices,” he said.

On
revenue, Udoma said based on the oil price and oil production
assumptions, government expects to generate about N3.6 trillion from
oil, up by about N500 billion from last year’s figure.
About N6.9 trillion revenue is projected to be available to the budget in 2019.

With
other projections showing government expects to collect less revenue
from some independent sources, he said only about N624 billion is
expected to be realised, against about N847 billion in the 2018 budget,
among others.

In his remarks, the Minister of Power Works and
Housing said Council approved cost variations on Osegudu-Uweto road
project from an initial contract price of N7.9 billion to N9.5 billion.

“The
initial cost of the bridge was about N7.9 billion and then we had a
variation of about N1.6 billion that takes it to N9.5 billion,” he said.

“The
importance of the Loko-Uweto road, which we have substantially now
completed is that it is the bridge that links the North and South of
Nigeria,” he said.

Fashola also assured that the Federal
Government, through the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA) within
the next couple of months, will rehabilitate major roads across the
country to ease vehicular traffic, especially through the festive
period.

Source:- Newtelegraphonlineng