The monthly revenue generated from the Abuja-Kaduna train service has increased by over 400%, the Nigerian Railway Corporation announced on Tuesday.
President Muhammadu Buhari inaugurated the Abuja-Kaduna commercial train operations on July 26, 2016, after the modernisation phase of the project commenced with the signing of the contract for the construction of Abuja (Idu) to Kaduna (Rigasa) rail line in 2009.
Buhari had stated that the facility would significantly enhance and provide affordable and safe movement of passengers and freight between the Federal Capital Territory and Kaduna State.
Speaking in Abuja on the financial performance of the rail line since it was inaugurated, the Managing Director, NRC, Fidel Okhiria, said on Tuesday that the train service generated over N80m monthly in 2018.
He said the figure was higher than the N16m generated monthly in 2017, but noted that in spite of the increase in revenue, the corporation had yet to break even as it still spent over N100m monthly as running cost.
Okhiria said, “We are close to breaking even on the Abuja-Kaduna train and we have made progress because of the efforts we made. When we started, we were earning about N16m and spending about N56m.
“But right now, we can comfortably say we earn over N80m, although we still spend over N100m, 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 issue we have now is that we only run passenger trains. We don’t have freight to move from Kaduna to Abuja.”
Okhiria said the corporation’s high expenditure on the Abuja-Kaduna train service was due to the purchase of diesel for generators at the train stations.
He noted that the NRC was working hard to link its stations to public power supply sources, adding that the cost of diesel to power all the stations along the route was eating deep into the income of the corporation.
He said “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.
“Right now, all our stations are still powered by generator 24/7 and we buy about 99,000 litres (of diesel) every month to power those generators. So it eats deep into our revenue. 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.”
Okhiria said in 2018, the number of train trips also increased from four to eight, adding that 10 more coaches would be deployed on the route.
He noted that the goal of the corporation was to run hourly train service on the route as Nigerians become more confident in the service.