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FG plans to assemble railway coaches in Nigeria –Amaechi

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FG plans to assemble railway coaches in Nigeria –Amaechi

 

The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, has disclosed that the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) had started building a factory in Nigeria, where coaches would be assembled.

Amaechi, made the disclosure at his valedictory press briefing in Abuja, where he noted that Nigerian engineers would be sent to overseas to acquire knowledge in the areas of assembling and construction of coaches for the purpose of servicing the Nigeria railway lines.

 

According to him, when the ongoing arrangement is brought to accomplishment, it would also help to create employment opportunities for many Nigerian engineers among others who ordinarily would have been unemployed.

Concerning the proposed national carrier, called Nigeria Air, Amaechi pointed out that there was a disagreement within the Federal Executive Council (FEC) on the modality for the establishment of the airline, thereby putting the proposal on hold.

He noted that China insisted that Nigeria should open a sinking fund and an escrow account in order to be able to seamlessly repay the loans which Nigeria borrowed from the Asian country for the construction of rail projects, particularly the Abuja-Kaduna rail.
The Minister stated that members of the federal cabinet had different beliefs and positions as regards the establishment of a national carrier for Nigeria, but was quick to state that the project had not been abandoned.

He said: “On national carrier, the cabinet is divided on the issue of modality. There are those who believe that the Federal Government should invest and then we can sell the equity later.
“There are also those who believe that, from day one, they say let us get investors in and give them the franchise of Nigeria Airways or Air Nigeria or whatever is called. That is where we are and that is what held it down. But as for whether it is still in our plan, it is and has not been abandoned.”

 

Speaking on the loan repayment, Amaechi directed the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Transportation, to ensure that the Nigerian Railway Corporation opens the required accounts that would help in the repayment process.

 

He said: “Permanent Secretary holds him (NRC boss) to that instruction and the instruction is that, all the money you get from Kaduna-Abuja railway every month, be put it in an account. Remove the cost of operation, whatever remains, let us start paying back.

 

“Let’s develop a sinking fund or an escrow account where we pay that money into, so that we can even on our own start the payment before the Federal Government starts paying. Why I say this is because, when we got to China, they insisted because of what they experienced with Kenya, Somalia and Sudan on their inabilities to pay back.
“They insisted that we must open two kinds of accounts, an escrow account and a sinking fund account. The sinking fund account will require that every year, we will put money there which is for the repayment of the loan, while the money for the management of that operation will be put in the escrow account.”

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