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Welcome Address By The Honourable Minister, Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, Senator Bala Abdukadir Mohammed CON FABS, On The Occasion of the Commissioning of 100 High Capacity City Buses for FCT Mass Transit, Tuesday , May 20,2014.

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It is with great honour and privilege that I once again welcome the Vice President, Federal Republic of Nigeria. His Excellency Arc. Mohammed Namadi Sambo GCON, to the FCT for the commissioning of 100 High Capacity Buses procured by the FCT Administration. This event fulfills the pledge I made to FCT residents before Mr Vice President last year.

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1. ? ? On that occasion, I affirmed that this Administration would not relent in its efforts to build and administer a Capital City in compliance with the Master Plan, through the establishment of an effective and enduring service oriented administration that can respond to the needs and aspirations of all residence and other stakeholders.

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?2. ? ? Your Excellency, the Abuja Master Plan provides for an integrated City and regional development that will provide a critical mass of commuting in a safe, affordable and environmentally sound Mass Transportation system in a world - class fashion.

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3. ? ? Sir, in line with our short-term target of reducing travel time to 20 Minutes and transport between 1.2 million to 2 million commuters from all entrance to the City and from the City to most of the Satellite Towns by 2015, the FCT Administration is working tirelessly to ensure a timely completion of the Abuja Metropolitan Rail Transport network. Lot 1a and 3 are at over 50% completion.

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?4. ? ? Your Excellency will recall the rollout of the FCT Taxi Scheme through our investment arm, the Abuja Investment Company Ltd (AICL) and the Federal Government safety net known as Subsidy Re-investment and Empowerment Program (SUER-P), initiated the scheme to cushion the effect of the ban on the operation of unregulated ?commercial buses in the Federal Capital City.

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5. ? ? I will like to report to Mr. Vice President and indeed, the good people of Abuja that this scheme has been very successful and laudable and we have added to the earlier fleet of 160 taxis, another fleet of 180 recently commissioned by the senate President, His Excellency, Senator David Mark GCON. The rate of default is 2%. Furthermore, AICL is closing discussion with Jaiz Bank to raise the number of the taxis to 1,000 before the end of the year.

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6. ? ? The launching of additional 100 High Capacity Buses into the fleet of the Abuja Urban Mass Transport Company (AUMTCO) marks another mile stone in our quest to make public transport safer, more comfortable and more accessible. It is important to mention here that AUMTCO, SURE-P and Yutong Hongkong Company made the delivery of these Buses possible. The Administration has made 40% payment on the Buses, another 10% will be made to make a total of 50%. Yutong Hongkong Company has given us a loan with a 3% interest rate.

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7. ? ? The 100 High Capacity Buses are kitted with all the essential security apparatus to make them safe. Air conditioned to make them comfortable and electronic payment system to make it convenient for our commuters. It is worth stating that we have subsidized our tickets to assist commuters with affordable fares. The cost of commuting in Abuja is less than 1 dollar.

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?8. ? ? Let me reiterate here that with the deployment of these Buses, there will now be stricter and sustained enforcement of the ban on unlicensed operators in the city. We therefore, appeal to private car owners to begin to patronize these city Buses as it will help to significantly reduce the volume of traffic on our roads. Government will not hesitate to discipline defaulters in accordance with the law. I urge you all to support the government in making Abuja our city of choice for everybody.

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9. ? ? Your Excellency, according to the World Bank statistics, Abuja is the fastest growing City in the Continent of Africa. In recognition of this fact, our Administration will annually inject 200 Buses into the fleet of AUMTCO over the next 3 years so as to meet the growing demand of public transportation. In view of our desire to standardize our high capacity Buses that are more than eight years old, discussions are at an advanced level with AICL/AUMTCO and Yutong Hongkong Limited the largest manufacturer of high capacity buses in the world and internationally recognized for its safety, comfort and delivery to set up an assembly plant in FCT.

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?10. The FCT Administration looks to the future with great enthusiasm and expectation in this sector. The vision is to incorporate significant innovations and growth objectives, which will enable AUMTCO, take the lead in the city’s urban passenger transport service delivery.

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11. We are extremely grateful to the Vice President for his continued support and direction especially for accepting to come to commission these Buses.

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12. On this note, it is my sincere pleasure and honor to reverently invite His Excellency to address this august gathering and thereafter to commission the 100 high capacity city Buses for FCT Mass Transit.

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13. I pray, the Almighty God, to bless our collective aspirations as I thank you all for your valued audience.

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? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?Senator Bala A. Mohammed, CON;FABS

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? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? Hon.Minister, FCT

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? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?May 27, 2014.

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