Senegal Mulls Legal Backing for Regional Express Railway

Senegalese lawmakers have commenced debate on a draft bill to create railway management agency to coordinate the ongoing regional rail express and other activties within the raikway sector.

The deputies voted on an emergency draft law authorizing the creation of the National agency for the management of the heritage of the Regional Express Train (SEN-TER SA) among others.

The project was defended by the Minister of Infrastructure, Land Transport, Mr. Oumar Youm, in the presence of the Secretary of State in charge of the railway network, Mayacine Camara.

The text of the draft bill defines “the establishment of a regulatory and normative framework, a regime of performance and quality of the TER service”, the minister explained.

Mr. Oumar Youm was questioned by the deputies on the relevance and urgency of the creation of the company, SEN-TER SA, its status and its capital but also on its territory of competence.

Deputies expressed their preference “for a single agency dealing with both operation and ownership of the railway, instead of two separate legal entities”.

With regard to the prerogatives of the national company, the minister specified that its mission imclude “the negotiation and the approval of any other railway operator, if the State so decided, of contracts, of activities which would guarantee the efficiency and effectiveness of services “.

Speaking of the relevance of such a project, the Minister Oumar Youm believes that this bill brought in emergency procedure should “avoid repeated requests from the National Assembly, to grant these extensions often inherent in the development of any agency “.

In addition to improving mobility through mass transport in Dakar, the minister stressed the impossibility of extension beyond the capital and the desire to rebalance the urbanization of Dakar which represents only 0.3% of the country’s surface, concentrating 70% of the national car fleet.

For all these reasons and in view of the need for the already established private-sector operating company to have Senegalese interlocutors, the miniater told the lawmakers that “there is an urgent need to create the agency whose decrees organizing its status are being prepared at the level of the Government “.

Minister Youm has also confirmed the effective creation of the private company concessionaire of commercial operation of the TER called SETER and announced the forthcoming creation of a railway safety agency.

On the record of delays noted in the financial compensation of the impacts of the TER, the Minister noted that “these delays are due to the lack of titles and evidence justifying the properties of the land”.

This has led the State to treat these cases with “the required caution using its prerogatives of verification and control to avoid compensation unjustified or undue”, he said.

The minister was particularly questioned on this issue by the opposition deputy Cheikh Bamba Dièye who deplored the delays in the execution of the work.

With a cost of 658 billion CFA francs, the Regional Express Train will have to reach Dakar’s city center at the new Blaise Diagne International Airport in 45 minutes.

It is expected to carry around 3 million people a year, or 115,000 passengers a day, Youm said. Nevertheless, the Minister indicates that the TER project will undergo a first phase of a 36 km stretch from Dakar to Diamniadio, available in October 2019.

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