Minister of the Federal Capital Territory Malam Muhammad Bello on Monday said the test running of the Abuja Light Rail will commence by middle November.
Bello disclosed this when he received a delegation of the Federation of Tourism Associations of Nigeria (FTAN) led by its President, Chief Tomilola Akingbogun when they paid him a visit in his office.
The Minister said the contractor handling the Abuja Rail Mass Transit is expected to complete work on the project by October.
The minister said that by December, the administration intended to temporarily open the rail services for the Lots 1A and 3 to the general public for usage.
“The full operation of the Abuja Rail Mass Transit will commence by the first quarter of 2018 as earlier announced’’
Responding to questions about the frequent cases of multiple taxation in the FCT, Bello noted that a committee was already working to address it. He said that the participation of private investors in the development and economic activities of Abuja was paramount for better results, adding that the issue of multiple taxations must be tackled to encourage them.
The minister emphasised that tourism must also be given its rightful place for private investors to take the front seat to stimulate economic activities in the territory.
“Nigeria is truly endowed and the FCT Administration will surely leverage on such endowment to fast track its economic development,”
Bello urged the investors in the tourism and hospitality industry to establish small hotels for services such as “bed and breakfast” in the territory.
The FCT minister said that this would cater for the numerous daily visitors into Abuja, particularly for those at the lower ladder.
The FTAN President said the FTAN was the umbrella body representing all tourism trades, businesses and associations in Nigeria.
Akingbogun called on governments at all levels to encourage public private partnership options in developing tourism in Nigeria.
He decried the problems of multiple taxations by FCT Administration and Abuja Municipal Area Council.