The Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) disclosed to newsmen in Abuja that it generated over 80 million naira monthly from the Abuja-Kaduna train service in 2018, up from 16 million naira generated monthly in 2017.
However, the Managing Director of the Corporation, Mr Fidet Okhiria revealed that in spite of the increase in revenue, the corporation was yet to break even, as it still spends over 100 million naira monthly on running costs.
Okhiria said “when we started, we were earning about 16 million naira and spending about 56 million naira, but right now, we can comfortably say we earn over 80 million naira although we still spend over 100 million naira, which is closer to breaking even. By the time we have more coaches and run more trains, I think the expenses will reduce and more patronage will come in”.
The Managing Director noted that “the issue we have now is that we only run passenger trains; we don’t have freight to move from Kaduna to Abuja. 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”.
Okhiria attributed the high expenses to the purchase of diesel for generators at the train stations. He also revealed that “right now, all our stations are still powered by generator 24/7, we buy about 99,000 litres every month 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”.
The NRC Boss said that in 2018, the number of train trip increased from four to eight. He also added that 10 more coaches would be deployed on the route.
According to Okhiria, “the goal is to run hourly train service on the route as Nigerians become more confident in the service, even as we are close to breaking even on the Abuja-Kaduna train, we have made progress because of the efforts we made”.