By Godwin Obi
Frontline entrepreneur, Prince Emeka Onyido, has called on the federal government to link cities with high agricultural productivity and large markets with standard gauge rail for cheaper and easier transportation of food products across the country.
With works on major agricultural cities on the western rail corridor in progress, Onyido said the federal government should now consider cities like Makurdi in Benue state and Umuahia in the south east to be connected to the standard rail projects for which the Muhammadu Buhari-led government had secured over $10 billion loans from China and the World Bank.
Prince Onyido, a hospitality expert, who made the call in an interview with our correspondent recently urged the government to prioritize citing of rail lines according to the needs of the society, emphasizing that areas with higher volumes of agricultural products and large markets should be on the priority list of areas to be first connected with rail gauge.
Onyido who is also Chairman/CEO of Mozida Hotels and Suites Ltd, Kano, noted that rail transport is the best means of transportation in the world, recalling that it was rail transport that made India and China what they are today, saying that it is cheaper, safer and makes movement easier.
Onyido who is also Onosolueze of Ogidi also urged federal government to encourage investment. “For us in the hospitality business, after burning fuel most of the time, the inflow will be grossly affected, and the incidence of high cost will be borne by both the entrepreneur and the final consumers”, he said.
He added that with the new tax policy especially the 7.5% VAT, the entrepreneur and the end users will bear the brunt of high costs.
He remarked that until the numbers begin to fall in place and infrastructure investments that are needed to facilitate businesses are clearly seen, investors would continue to struggle to let ends meet.
Onyido called on government to see insecurity and youth unemployment as greatest challenge suffusing the Nigerian state, stressing that the earlier the issues of piracy and other criminal activities are holistically addressed by government the better for business to thrive in the country.
He called on Igbos to start investing at home, stating that if the Igbos start investing in the Eastern region, government will be forced to open the gateways such as the low channel seaports in the region and the airports.