By Jude Michael
Governor Chukwuma Soludo has contracted a Canadian-based infrastructure advisory organisation, CPCS Transcom Limited, to prepare and design a master plan for rail line network for Anambra State, in a move that will revolutionize transportation in the state.
The rail lines are to run from Onitsha, the state’s commercial nerve centre, to Ihiala, targeting the Oseokwa Port through Nnewi, Igbo-Ukwu, Ekwulobia, Oko down to Umunze, the border town to Abia and Imo, the General Manager, Anambra State Bureau of Public Procurement (ANSBPP), Mr Okey Ezeobi, told journalists on Tuesday.
According to him, the rail lines being designed to ease transportation and boost the state economy will run to Awka and another through Anambra North, heading towards the state’s boundary with Kogi.
Ezeobi, who described Soludo’s administration as futuristic, said he was thinking about the state’s economy in the next 10 to 20 years and that there was a need to jump-start it by providing the enabling environment for the economy and people to thrive.
‘And for us to have a vibrant economy with an increased GDP, transportation is one huge infrastructure that we need.
‘We are already courting the Federal Government to have ports in Onitsha and Oseokwa in the Ihiala area.
‘If you bring in containers, the fastest and cheapest way to move them out of the port is by rail.
‘These are sustainable developments that when the feasibilities are out, they are bankable projects,’ Ezeobi explained.
On the level of compliance to due process in public procurement, he said it was 100 per cent at the state level but still poor at the local government level.
He said that the agency would organise a six-day capacity-building programme for Transition Committee Chairmen in the 21 LGAs and their procurement officers.
‘Procurement is a process that must reflect transparency. It tells the people what the government is doing and affords them enough information to interrogate public officials.
‘As public officials, the local government leadership must be accountable in their handling of public funds.
‘The state procurement process must be well-defined so that residents would know that the taxes collected from them are being deployed appropriately,’ Ezeobi said.