The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, has accused the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation of breaching a railway contract after the delivery date passed without delivery of the ordered coaches.
FG condemns slow delivery on contract: The coaches are supposed to be manufactured by the Chinese Railway Rolling stock Corporation (CRRC). The contract was signed in December 2017 and was supposed to expire in February 2019. However, the delivery date has since elapsed, even as Amaechi has condemned the pace of the work and demanded for improvement.
The Minister visited China to express his displeasure: Amaechi made the statement during a visit to China where he led a delegation to inspect the pace of work at the CRRC. Nigeria had requested for the production of 64 coaches which are to be deployed on the Abuja-Kaduna and Lagos-Ibadan rail lines.
“The pace of construction is slow and they need to improve on it. In fact, the contract has expired; we may not have paid all the money but we paid quite a substantial sum and, therefore, they should construct speedily.
“The contract was signed in December 2017 and was supposed to expire in February 2019. The time has expired and there is a breach of contract but we will look at what the law says because more than one third of the money has been paid.”
New deadline for delivery of some coaches: Amaechi gave a new directive, stating the deadline for the deployment of ten coaches out of the 64 coaches should not be more than June this year. He said ten coaches were requested first to improve on the Kaduna-Abuja line.
“We need the coaches by June latest. We need coaches that can carry men from one point to another and we need a minimum of 10 coaches now out of the 64. I requested for 10 coaches now because we need to improve on the Kaduna-Abuja line.
“If the 10 (coaches) don’t come, there is nothing I can do but they have to come because they have to manufacture for us to use in Kaduna-Abuja and again Lagos-Ibadan, which will soon be ready. We also have to ensure that we get coaches that we can use pending when they finish the construction of the 64 coaches.”
Coaches and wagon factory to be built in Nigeria: Amaechi said a verbal agreement was made with CCECC to establish a factory that will be used to manufacture coaches and wagon in Nigeria in order to create job opportunities for Nigerians.
He also disclosed that the Chinese firm opted for Ogun State as the location for the factory despite Amaechi favouring Zaria.
“We had a verbal agreement for them to produce 15 per cent of the coaches, locomotives and wagons. They came back and said it was too expensive to establish locomotives and coaches factory and that we can start with the wagon and do 100 per cent assembly in Nigeria for the first five years. After the first five years, they will now build a factory that will manufacture wagons in Nigeria.
“It is not part of the contract we signed in 2017 but I insisted that for me to sign, they must localise it to create more jobs and reduce the expenditure of foreign exchange. Instead of going to buy dollars, you pay the Chinese in their local currency.
“We have to go further to ask them if we can own it. We have not talked about ownership but what we said was localise it. Although they are using their profit to build it, you can make them hand over the ownership to Nigeria. As for the assembly plant, I intended for Zaria but they chose Kajola in Ogun state.”
Meanwhile, the Nigerian Railway Corporation has been informed by Amaechi to provide land for the wagon factory to CCECC before May 8, 2019.