21 July 2014, Abuja – President/CEO of General Electric, Dr. Lazarus Angbazo, has said that Nigeria may not be able to sustain a seven to eight per cent Gross Domestic Products (GDP) growth if it does not have a sound railway system.
Angbazo who spoke at a media parley in Lagos at the weekend said it would be a tough task to grow at that rate without a strong transport and logistic sector, while revealing that plans are afoot to renew the Country-to- Company agreement it signed with the federal government five years ago to help transform the power, transport and health sectors of the country.
According to him, “how possible is it for Nigeria to sustain a seven to eight per cent GDP growth without investing in railway transportation. How do you connect the fabric of Nigerian society without first strengthening the agricultural sector through the building of a strong railway system that will help in the transportation of farm produce and processed food.”
He therefore recommended a good railway system for the country and commended government for its current efforts in transforming the rail system in the country.
He however lamented the situation where the railway system did not develop beyond the level that the country inherited it during independence as unfortunate.
He explained that GE is currently working with the government to achieve a reliable and sound railway system for the country.
“Two years ago, government embarked on the fleet renewal of the rail locomotives, and GE have supported it immensely. With the new investment, the future is bright, provided government constantly invests in renewing its policies on rail transportation,” Angbazo said.
He added: “The refurbishment of the Lagos-Kano western line is ongoing, and this has increased traffic on that route. There is also investment in the eastern line from Port Harcourt to Maiduguri and there is also investment in the central line, and GE said it is currently discussing with government on how much it could localise the locomotives.”
In the area of healthcare, Angbazo said: “There is a revolution going on in this area in terms of developing the country’s healthcare infrastructure and GE is part of the revolution.”
He listed five focus areas in the healthcare sector, which the company signed agreement with government to execute. They include support and facilitating the development of diagnostic centres in the country, and GE is committed to facilitating at least four centres.
Secondly is to support development of specialist hospitals, with agreement to support at least two hospitals.
Thirdly is the commitment to general capacity building within the healthcare sector like the training of clinicians, health administrations and other health workers. Although there is no specific number of staff agreed to be trained in this area, Angbazo said GE had commenced the training of quite a number of healthcare workers.
“Already, over 300 clinicians have been trained in seven hospitals across five states,” he said.
Another focus area rural healthcare, where GE has signed an agreement with the federal ministry of health to develop scan-based technology, which is a handheld technology that can be used in the rural area for early detection of pregnancy defects as well as training of several local midwives.
This will have a transformative effect in the mortality rate in the country, Angbazo added.
Fifth is in the area of developing financing scheme to help small health practitioners such as doctors and nurses run small clinics. He further said the project would help the practitioners develop additional infrastructure and attract funding.
– This Day