Aminat Isah, Abuja
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo said the interconnectivity of the railway in Nigeria isn’t just an alternative and comfortable means of transportation, but the master key to transforming commerce in Nigeria and across the continent.
Osinbajo stated this at the official ground breaking ceremony of the Rail Wagon Assembly Plant at Kajola, Ogun State on Saturday, saying that linking the Nigerian ports to rail lines, building the rolling stock locally, import and export business within, into and out of Africa’s largest market will never be the same.
The Vice President explaining further said when the rail lines across Nigeria is completed, it is expected that the plant would produce some parts of the wagons for the Lagos – Ibadan and Abuja – Kaduna rail lines, but also for the central rail lines and to satisfy the needs of other rail operators within the West- African sub-region.
Speaking on the location of the Wagon Plant Cite, Osinbajo said “citing of the plant here in Nigeria and the commitment to hiring Nigerians and Nigerian businesses affirms the Presidents directives in Executive Order 5 on prioritizing Nigerians and Nigerian businesses in the innovation, production and procurement of Engineering projects and services.
“The plant would offer an important platform for engineers, technicians, artisans and other professionals to gain the specialized skills required for the production and maintenance of rolling stock. This will invariably conduce to spin-off businesses in the region of operation and across the country wherever rail networks are in existence,”
He urged the host communities to continue to support government efforts by effectively cooperating with the contractors in safeguarding as a way of protecting lasting investments that can ensure that all intended objectives and mutual benefits are attained.
He also commend the Federal Ministry of Transportation led by Hon. Minister of Transportation Rotimi Amaechi for the commitment he has demonstrated from the inception of rail modernization project. And also the Chinese government, particularly the investor, CCECC Nigeria Limited for the significant and strategic investment.
The Minister of Transportation, Hon. Rotimi Amaechi in his opening remarks explained that the Ministry of Transportation on realizing the need of the advantage to set up the Rail Wagon Assembly type of plant considering the potential need in view of the on-going rail projects in the country and the sub-region encourage Messrs CCECC to establish the Kajola Wagon plant.
According to Amaechi, the plant when completed is expected to generate job opportunities for Nigerians as well as facilitate the much-desired objective of the government towards the local content capacity development.
The Minister noted that it was in the pursuit of these objectives that the Federal Ministry of Transportation signed an agreement with Messrs. CCECC Nig. Limited in March, 2018 to establish the plant for the production and assembling of rolling stock, spare parts and maintenance equipment in Nigeria, which consequently saw, Messrs. CCECC conducting a feasibility study in which the choice of Kajola, Ogun State was arrived at as the suitable location for the project.
“This project is therefore a direct investment of Messrs. CCECC Nig. Ltd in the country and would remain as part of the gains from the contract signed for the Supply of rolling stock. This will be the first of its kind in Nigeria and the first batch of the wagons to be assembled from the production line of this plant will form part of the rolling stock for Lagos – Ibadan and Abuja – Kaduna Railway operations. Subsequently, other rolling stock would be produced as its production capacities increase.
” Among all these, it is cardinal to mention that the sustainability of our railway modernization projects would depend on our ability to develop local capacity to construct, maintain and manage our new railway system. It is on this note that we feel that this project is germane to the railway development in Nigeria and that Messrs. CCECC should be given every reasonable support to actualize this investment,” said Amaechi.
The Managing Director of CCECC Nigeria Limited Mr. Jiang Yigao in his address said the Wagon Assembly Plant concept is to grow local technology and ultimately make Nigeria not only self-sufficient in certain components of locomotive rolling stock, but also an exporter.
He noted that with the completion and operation of the Abuja to Kaduna Railway, Abuja Rail Mass Transit and work on other railway projects, the plant will play a pivotal role in ensuring theprovision of wagons.
“The socio-economic benefits of the plant cannot be overemphasized. A number of youths will be employed and it will stimulate the creation of other ancillary jobs and bring development not only to Kajola community but the South West in general.
“The plant has the capacity to produce 500 wagons per year and will undertake key production processes like welding, assembly, painting, drying and testing. It has the capacity to produce open, container, flat, tank and box wagons. Nigeria is surely marching to greater development and CCECC will continue to partner with Nigeria in ensuring the technological development of the country,” said Yigao.
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