Voice of Nigeria: The Nigerian government and General Electric, GE have signed an interim phase agreement for the repair of the Lagos-Kano rail line.
In terms of the agreement, GE would invest an initial sum of $45million out of the $2.7billion dollars that they are supposed to pay when the main construction agreement was signed.
Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, who stated this after Wednesday’s cabinet meeting presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, said another $54 million would be spent on the repair of Port Harcourt-Maiduguri rail line.
Amaechi said the approvals by the Federal Executive Council were to enable the ministry to procure the equipment that would assist GE carry out the rehabilitation of narrow gauge.
He said these included the construction of overhead travelling cranes, carriage and wagon workshops as well as diesel to assist GE as it does the work of repairing locomotives, coaches and wagons that would be used for the narrow gauge.
He said the idea was to get the narrow gauge to start running before the completion of the standard gauge.
The Transport Minister said the rehabilitation work on the narrow gauge would increase the speed of the trains on it to 40km/h from the 17km/h, which it runs at present.
“By the time they come for the main construction agreement, they would have gotten $2.7 billion of their own. When they do bring it and complete all the rehabilitation work, the narrow gauge would run at the maximum narrow gauge speed, which is 80km/h,” he explained.
The contract for Nigeria’s contribution in the agreement was awarded to South African firms, Vipan Global Investment and Demark Cranes Corporation at the cost of N1.67 billion.
The cabinet also approved N1.2billion contract for the procurement of 18 flat bed wagons to enable the Nigerian Railway Corporation to operate on the narrow gauge awarded to a Chinese company, Messrs CRRC of Shandon.
“We did not agree to an exclusivity clause with GE. So while they are operating their passenger locomotives and coaches and freight wagons, we also will be operating our own freight wagons and passenger locomotives and wagons,” Amaechi stated.
East /West Road
The Federal Executive Council appointed a committee to take an inspection trip to the East-West Road “with a view to completing that road.”
The committee comprises the Minister of Transportation, the Minister of the Niger Delta, Minister of the Power, Works and Housing and the Minister of Information and Culture.
According to the Transport Minister, the Minister of Niger Delta would give the committee a date and they would accompany him to visit the road and see the extent of work that has been done and what would be required to complete it.