GE investing N2.7b in infrastructure, says Amaechi
The Federal Government will inaugurate 10 new coaches and two locomotives for the Abuja-Kaduna rail service on December 10.
The Minister of Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, who said this in Lagos on Saturday while highlighting his achievements in his two years in office, recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari had told the National Assembly that the new coaches would arrive in November.
According to him, every arrangement has been made to make it feasible.
“The President has already announced to the National Assembly that on the 10th of December, he will inaugurate 10 coaches and two locomotives which are in the budget.
“This means that the 10 coaches and two locomotives must arrive in Abuja for commissioning, one locomotive will be used for daily drop-off at the stations, while the second locomotive will be an express train from Abuja to Kaduna,’’ he said.
Amaechi said that in a space of two years, the ministry had so many projects running with some remarkable achievements in the maritime and rail sub-sector.
He said that within this period, Abuja-Kaduna rail line was completed, adding that work was ongoing at the Lagos-Ibadan rail alongside construction and rehabilitation of the Itakpe-Ajaokuta-Warri standard gauge.
The minister said that by 2018, most of the ongoing rail projects would be completed, adding that the President had also approved the Lagos-Calabar rail line.
According to him, all the states will be connected by rail, as our vision for Nigeria is to continue to construct railway in the next 10 to 15 years.
The train service was inaugurated by Buhari on July 26, 2016, in Abuja with four coaches.
The additional 10 coaches and two locomotives expected to arrive on Nov. 23, in Lagos will ease the plight of passengers on that route.
Amaechi also said General Electric (GE) was investing 2.7 billion dollars on infrastructure, Operation and Maintenance (O and M) of the entire narrow-gauge lines concession.
According to Amaechi, GE is investing $700 million on infrastructure, with two billion on O and M, disclosing that the ministry concluded the agreement on interim trade with GE on November 6, for them to commence work in December.
Amaechi noted that with the interim trade, Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC) would still be on the platform until proper negotiation and agreement were concluded by April 2018 when GE would fully take over.
“We are already in conversation with GE, we are negotiating with them, by Monday we will conclude agreement on the interim trade, which means that they will start working and functioning from this December.
“But NRC will still be on the platform, till we conclude the proper negotiation agreement, which will likely be within March and April 2018.
“Then NRC will be out, it will be fully managed by GE. They will work on the infrastructure, which is about $700 million worth of investment on infrastructure.
“Two billion dollars for O and M, so their investment is about 2.7 billion dollars for the entire project,” he said.
He, however, said that the narrow gauge rail lines would be managed for the period of 20 to 30 years, adding that Nigerian contractors would be engaged.
This, Amaechi said, would create jobs for the youth.