Uncertainty Looms at Railway Corporation over Alleged Mismanagement of Fund

National Assembly rejects the NRC 2020 Budget

BY OBUTE JAMES

There seems to be uneasiness and uncertainty at the Nigeria Railway Corporation, NRC over the inability of its Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Fidet Okhiria to properly give account of how he has been running the organization and how he intends to implement the 2020 budget proposal.

The NRC leadership had appeared before the Joint Senate and House Committee on Land Transport penultimate Monday along side the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amechi to defend their 2020 Budget.

While Amechi explained that the 2019 budget was partially implemented and stated how he intends to execute the 2020 budget, some agencies under his ministry particularly, the Nigeria Railway Corporation was unable to give proper account of how they run their organization.

The joint session presided by Abbas Tajudeen who is the Chairman House Committee on Land Transport wonders how the internally generated revenue of the NRC in 2019 is still very poor and almost the same with its income of 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 despite the improvement in the railway projects and high patronage at the Abuja/Kaduna railway stations.

The committee also expressed surprise at the way tickets are being sold without the use of internet despite the advancement in information and communication technology in Nigeria.

The leadership of NRC was asked to come back on Thursday with details of its spending particularly in the year 2019 and proper presentation of 2020 budget proposal. But when the leadership of NRC appeared on Thursday at the National Assembly by 6pm for the budget defence, they were unable to present the required documents with details explanation.

This annoyed the lawmakers to send them away with next Tuesday as ultimatum.

The lawmakers threatened to give zero allocation to the NRC in the 2020 budget if Okhiria and his team fail to provide the necessary details they required by next Tuesday October 29, 2019.

Sources at the NRC revealed to THE LEGISLATURE that except the lawmakers decided to relax their demand, further probe into the activities in the NRC will open a Pandora box.

The source who does not want his name on paper stated that there is no transparency even in the issuance of tickets as 2 or more tickets can be issued for one seat thereby creating confusion at the railway station particularly at Abuja-Kaduna Railway station where passengers fear to travel by road because of kidnappers.

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