Aminat Isah, Abuja
The Federal Government says agreements have been concluded with China Civil Engineering Construction Company to have two major ground breaking ceremony between September and October 2019.
Minister for Transportation, Hon. Rotimi Amaechi, disclosed this during his first inspection of the Lagos-Ibadan rail way project two days after being inaugurated as minister for the second time.
According to Amaechi, the two groundbreaking which will take place between September and October of this year is for the University of Transportation in Daura while the second ground braking is that of coaches, wagons, nd locomotive manufacturing plant in Kajola, as a way of insisting that Nigeria cannot continue to import locomotives, wagons, and coaches, when it can be manufactured in Nigerian.
“We also agree with them to have between September and October two major ground breaking ceremony; one is the university at Daura , the university of transportation ,and a ground breaking ceremony at kajorla, we are insisting that they cannot continue to manufacture coaches, Locomotives , wagons in china to us. So part of the benefit we get out of the contract is that they would build a factory at Kajorla to manufacture wagon , then progress from wagons to locomotive and Nigerians will understudy them,” he said.
Speaking on the slow pace of work from the point of inspection in Apapa Lagos to Ibadan, the minister explained that although the pace of work which is not entirely slow is due funding, asvthere are IPCs that nobody could sign rather than the minister and there was no minister within period when cabinet was dissolved, until the new ones were inaugurated.
“So I would sign it on Monday when I get to the office as it would be paid by China NEXIM bank, and on our side we are owing them compensation in land acquisition payment and there are new approvals we need to get from the cabinet which we cannot commence unless we get those approvals .
“Like there is place we stop at Agege, that place is an under pass, so we can do anything about it because they are waiting for approval. We will go to cabinet quickly to get approval so that they can continue with their construction.
“Our target is that they should please hurry and get to seaport to evacuate the goods in the seaport and if we cannot eliminate it at least reduce what people will refer to Apapa grid lock,that can only happen when people begin to move by train,”
When asked on variation of Dollar on the project, Amaechi said there is nothing of such as variation, saying that there are extra work to be done to ensure that the standard of the rail gague is maintained.
“What we said is that there are extra work because if you go to Lagos either people will die because is not a narrow gauge train and is a speed train between 120km/hour, so those crosses you see if you don’t create avenue for buses to cross you either block Lagos completely and there would be traffic madness or you create passes. So we are creating under pass and over passes where they are necessary-about 11 to 16 of them which would cost money so we need to go and get approval from the government. This is what slows them down.
“Secondly, the cabinet was dissolved because our tenure had elapsed and then they needed a minister to come to approve their payment of about 5 IPCs so that China Nexim Bank can pay them.”
On whether December target is feasible, Amaechi said: “I am saying to them that left with they should be able to complete it by December, but now they have pointed out what the problems are. So if they have money elsewhere and maybe we had sign the IPCs earlier the pace of work should have increased.
” So what we are saying is that they need approval from cabinet and luck cabinet is in place and the President will finally approve and we go to cabinet to request to those approvals for the extra work they need to put in place. Once we get the approval the speed will increase.
On the importation of materials, Amaechi noted that if the materials are here in Nigeria, they will not import, but some had to be imported because their raw materials are not available in Nigeria.
“Like we have cement they don’t have to import it. Also is cheaper to have raw materials here than to bring them from oversees, so they are looking for the raw materials for instance they are looking for raw materials for glasses.
“The kind of glass they are looking for we don’t have the materials for security glass and when I asked the Nigerian Lady who work with Technical consultant said we do not have it here, because she always insist they must use local materials and Nigerians to ensure that we have the expertise and also grow our economy,”he explained.
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