Rasheed Bisiriyu and Udochi Ogubuike
China Civil Engineering and Construction Corporation will commence construction work on a factory for the manufacturing of train wagons and locomotives in October, the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, has said.
The minister, who stated this in Lagos on Friday evening after inspecting the ongoing work on the new Lagos-Ibadan rail, said the standard gauge track construction was slowed down because of delayed payment to the contractor.
Apart from the train rolling stock factory, Amaechi also said the Federal Government had reached an agreement with the Chinese firm to perform the groundbreaking for the construction of a university of transportation in Daura, Katsina State, between September and October.
He said the factory would provide job opportunities for Nigerians as well as make the procurement of train rolling stock cheaper than the imported ones.
He said, “We also agreed with them to have between September and October two major groundbreaking ceremonies; one is the University of Transportation at Daura, and a factory for manufacturing of wagons at Kajola.
“We are insisting that they cannot continue to manufacture coaches, locomotives and wagons in China for us. So, part of the benefits we get from the contract is the factory at Kajola to manufacture wagons; then they will progress from wagons to locomotive and they will be understudied by Nigerians.”
Amaechi, who spoke barely 48 hours after the inauguration of the new cabinet, said work on the Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge rail project became slow because of delayed payment.
He said the project had barely progressed from where he left it on May 29 when the cabinet was dissolved.
According to him, the contractor had submitted various Interim Payment Certificates to the ministry to process the payment from the China Exim Bank but only the minister could sign the IPCs.
He promised to sign the IPCs on Monday to enable the contractor to process their payment.
Amaechi was joined on the project inspection by the Chairman of the Nigeria Railway Corporation, Mallam Ibrahim Al-Hassan, and the NRC Managing Director, Fidet Okhiria.
The CCECC had completed the double-track laying from Iju in Lagos to the end of the 156km project 157 in Moniya, Ibadan.
The minister who assessed the level of work since May when the last inspection was done before the cabinet was dissolved said, “They are a bit slow and the reason is funding. There are IPCs that nobody could sign other than the minister and there was no minister at that period. I’ll sign it on Monday when I get to the office and send the IPCs that are to be paid by the China Exim Bank. Then on our own side, we owe compensation payment on land acquisition.”
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