By Aminat Isah
The Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) says it is yet to break even as it still spends over N100 million monthly as running cost in 2018 on Abuja –Kaduna rail service.
The Managing Director of the corporation, Fidet Okhiria, disclosed the in Abuja, adding that in spite of generating over N80 million monthly from the Abuja-Kaduna train service in 2018, figure which he says was higher than the N16 million generated monthly in 2017, it still has not break even with expenses incurred.
“We are close to breaking even on the Abuja-Kaduna train, we have made progress because of the efforts we made.
“When we started, we were earning about N16 million and spending about N56 million, but right now, we can comfortably say we earn over N80 million although we still spend over N100 million, which is closer to breaking even.
Okhiria attributed the high expenses to the purchase of diesel for generators at the train stations, saying that if the NRC is ablr to make a link for freight movement, it would be able to break even.
“If we are able to link up with some people to move freight, we will be able to break even because presently, by the time we inject power from the public power supply, I think our expenses will also come down.
“The issue we have now is that we only run passenger trains; we don’t have freight to move from Kaduna to Abuja,’’ he said.
He revealed that all the stations are still being serviced by generating sets from dawn to dusk, and that with the connection of the stations to the public power supply this month, the commission would be able to break even.
“Right now, all our station is still powered by generator 24/7, we buy about 99,000 liters every months to power those generators; so, it eats deep into our expenses.
“But by the time we are able to connect to the public power supply which we hope by this month will be done, the cost of buying diesel will drastically reduce and then, we can break even.’’
He said that in 2018, the number of train trips also increased from four to eight, adding that 10 more coaches would be deployed on the route, adding that the goal of NRC is to run hourly train service on the route as Nigerians become more confident in the service.
“By the time we have more coaches and run more trains, I think the expenses will reduce and more patronage will come in.