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Coaches for Abuja rail arrive next month as Bello rallies investors

10th Feb, 2020 | By Anthony Ogunleye and Wisdom Acka | ||

Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Minister, Malam Muhammad Musa Bello has said that FCT Administration (FCTA) would take delivery of about two rail coaches next month to further boost transportation service in Abuja and environs. He also rallied investors to take advantage of the numerous excellent opportunities that abound in the nation's capital to establish businesses. Bello made the disclosures last week while speaking at an event organized by Ease of Doing Business in Nigeria Initiative, in Abuja. He said: "I am pleased to inform you that first batch of two coaches were inspected and are being expected in the country by March (next month)", adding that rail system also presented a huge business opportunity.

Abuja Digest Weekly authoritatively reports that a couple of weeks ago, FCTA officials from the Transportation Secretariat visited China to inspect work on the manufacturing of coaches for the Abuja Light Rail system, where some were certified ready for delivery to Nigeria. With each coach having capacity to carry high volume of passengers, Abuja roads are likely to witness less traffic than presently as no fewer than hundreds of persons would be transported from one point to another when the first batch of the coaches finally arrive from China. Abuja Light Rail system was given a huge lift few years ago when President Muhammadu Buhari commissioned the Abuja-Kaduna rail line, thus making rail transport the preferred means of movement between the two important cities.

Dwelling further on investment at the Ease of Doing Business event, Malam Bello informed investors of the huge opportunities and business-friendly environment in Abuja and invited them to partner government to develop the city. According to the Minister, the nation's capital presents enormous and unrivalled investment opportunities in waste management, transportation, real estate, entertainment industry and agriculture among others. He also stated that FCTA has provided conducive environment for businesses to thrive in Abuja, including delivery and maintenance of a good road and rail network which eased movement, stressing that transportation was critical to any business operation.

Bello said: "Managing municipal waste is a huge responsibility. The city is now ripe for those in the private sector to think of how they can turn waste into wealth", adding that about 27 contractors recently evacuated more than 28,000 metric tonnes of waste in Abuja. In the area of transportation, the Minister revealed that banning of motorcycles, popularly known as 'okada', some years ago has left a huge vacuum which the private sector was invited to fill by providing transport services.

According to Bello, in the past while the possession of a 30-vehicle fleet of cars or buses was a prerequisite for operating a transport company in Abuja, his Administration brought the number down to 10 vehicles to encourage private sector participation. Narrating a story of how certain private investors approached him and today their business are a success story in FCT, Bello appealed to Nigerians to have confidence in themselves and their country.

Asking the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) to use Abuja as a laboratory for its projects and programmes, the Minister urged: "Let's have confidence in this government, let's have confidence in this country. I don't think there is anywhere in the world where you get the kind of returns you get in Nigeria." Special Assistant to the President on Ease of Doing Business Initiative in Nigeria, Dr. Jumoke Oduwole, who spoke earlier, had disclosed that her organization was established to create enabling environment for business to thrive in the country. Oduwole stated that a lot was achieved by the body through inclusive collaboration with Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of government working together to reduce cost of doing business, enable efficiency and hence increase productivity in service delivery in Nigeria.

As corroborated by business owners who spoke on the occasion, Oduwole added that problems relating to multiple taxation and access to public regulatory agencies were tackled through the instrumentality of her organization. The event was attended by representatives of government establishments, business owners and those in entertainment industry, among others.

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