By Seun Ibiyemi
The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi on Friday commended China Civil Engineering and Construction Company (CCECC) over work done at the ongoing $1.5billion Lagos-Ibadan Standard gauge rail.
Speaking at the inspection of the work done on the project with Chairman and member of the senate committee on Transportation, the Minister said, “we have been able to do inspection to kilometer 102, and we are having challenges in kilometer 102 but they have assured that by Monday April 8, they will have gotten to kilometer109.
“Also at kilometer 110 where we are having soil challenges and that is what they are doing now. Another challenge we have is kilometer 116 which also is soil issue but geological survey has been done and they have discovered that there is high water level in those place.”
He had said during the last inspection that the CCECC did not meet up with his expectation.
According to him, “they are human beings and not machine and we expected them to do track laying to kilometer 95. If you will agree with me, they have done sub laying to kilometer 98.
“So, what they have not done is track laying and they said when I come for inspection in one week’s time, they will have done the track laying up to kilometer 98. They will start laying the beam to cross the bridge at kilometer 98.”
He said the project cannot be abandoned when the funding was coming from the NEXIM bank.
He said, “We have completed paying our own fund so why will it be abandoned. Also having won the 2019 presidential election, it means same government that started the project will finish it.”
Speaking on additional fund on the budget, he said when the project is completed, cabinet would sit and when it is approved, that is when we speak on additional fund.
He assured that by May, the project track laying is expected to be completed and what will be remaining is construction of buildings
The Executive Secretary Nigerian Shippers’ Council, Barr. Hassan Bello speaking during the inspection said that the work done by the CCECC is very impressive.
According to him, “the level of work has progressed, because the last time we came we stopped at kilometer 101 and now is progressing.
“I know that there will problem with the weather particularly the rain but by the end of May tracks would have been laid up to Ibadan.”
He also said the rail will bring opportunities to investors in the private sector, with about 10 stations which we are going to have, is an opportunity to investors and it will create employment in the communities
“Is not just a project but we are creating chains of opportunities, lines of communications and also employment content of this project is very high.
“Shippers will benefit a lot on this project more than anybody because the cost of transportation from the seaport to their warehouse will reduce drastically. Truck is the only method we have now but if the truckers would have competition from the rail you can expect that law of demands and supply will apply
“Even more importantly the safety and security of the cargo, so there will be delivery of cargoes in a smooth way and that will also create employment.”
Bello also giving update on truck transit pack, said that “the TTP is going to be advertised soon, we have gotten approval from the ICRC, so the one in Enugu and Lokoja we are going to advertise for private companies to come and invest.”