Why PH – Maiduguri, Kano – Maradi rail projects are stalled, by Amaechi

By AdvocateNews on 10/07/2021

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Delayed approvals from the Federal Executive Council (FEC) and the Bureau of Public Procurement(BPE) have stalled commencement of works on the Port Harcourt – Maiguri eastern narrow- gauge and Kano Maradi rail projects, Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi has explained.

The Minister said works on the rail projects would commence once the ministry gets a green light.

The Minister, who spoke with reporters after an inspection of the Lagos – Ibadan rail project on Friday, lamented the delay would affect the speed of work on the rail projects.

He said: “We are ready to move on, we have paid the contractor some money but we have to wait until the public procurement department and the Federal Executive Council give us approval on the supervising engineers. If the supervising engineers are not in place to tick off the drawings you can’t construct. That’s where we are.

“In fact, that is the problem we have with Kano – Maradi, Port Harcourt – Maiduguri. Even if we get the loan facility for Lagos – Calabar we will not start until we have gotten the engineers and I am worried that it may take us to the end of the year.

“I hear that they canceled the old contract (for PH – Maiduguri) and asked us to go ahead with a new advertisement.

“That will take nearly between four and six weeks and you ask the ministry to do two-four weeks; that is two months plus. It is going to be difficult.

“When they finish they will send it to due process. You can be sure of another one month. It is going to affect the speed of work. It is sad but I will talk with BPP.”

Speaking on the frequent breakdown of the Abuja – Kaduna train, Amaechi said: “It is maintenance that is worrying Kaduna – Abuja and I hear from the MD that we are yet to receive the spare parts that we placed an order for and they are not enough.

“We have written to the President and he has approved some money. But BPP is yet to approve the contracting documents. When they do we will have to buy more spare parts.”

The Minister said Nigerians would henceforth handle the maintenance of rail projects because they have acquired the knowledge, adding the contract between the Nigeria Railway Cooperation and China Civil Engineering and Construction Company (CCEC) for rail maintenance will not be renewed.

Amaechi also urged local contractors to build their capacity before they can handle rail construction projects.

The Minister responding to agitation from local contractors on why they are not awarded rail construction contract said: “A contractor must have at least five years experience and genuine evidence of work done to be awarded a contract.”

He added: “We are not using our local contractors because they are not qualified. If you want to participate, build capacity, we can’t give you a life-threatening contract if we don’t trust your capacity.

“We said five years experience but a contractor in Nigeria will take a photograph of another man’s job as his own. How many Nigerians have done project management in railway? Yet they are applying.

”I am not against them applying but we don’t want them to go give the job to another contractor, show us you have the capacity and equipment and we will choose you.”

Amaechi said 42,000 passengers used the Lagos – Ibadan train last month.

 

Posted 10/07/2021 5:51:30 PM

 

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