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Why FG will concession rail management to foreign companies – Amaechi

By on February 21, 2016

Indications emerged over the weekend that the federal government will concession the operations of the newly completed 186km Abuja-Kaduna railway tracks to the China Civil Engineering and Construction Corporation (CCECC).

In this same negotiation, arrangement is also being concluded to concession the Lagos-Kano railway track to General Electric (GE) of the U.S.

President Muhammadu Buhari, THISDAY learnt, will flag off the roll-out of the rail services in May after free train services that the ministry will make available to Nigerians between March and April.

Briefing journalists after inspecting the various rail stations on a ride from Kaduna to Abuja on Friday evening, the Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi, said the odds favour CCECC, who constructed the tracks.

According to him, CCECC and GE have the capacity and know-how to efficiently manage the railway operations as a construction outfit.
Asked if government will concession the operation of the new rail track, the minister said: “This is an operational question and can only be answered at the point of operation and that’s when you concession it out.

“There’s an argument in the ministry on whether (or not) we should concession it to CCECC that built it since they have the capacity to run it as the construction company.

“On the other hand, do we concession it to outsiders or Nigerians. And do these Nigerians have the capacity to run train service considering the fact that we’ve never had a standard gauge before. So the likelihood of giving the concession to CCECC is higher than to concession it to Nigerians.”
On the Lagos to Kano rail track, he said: “We are about negotiating with GE to concession the narrow gauge from Lagos to Kano to them. But they can’t even run that without training and employing Nigerians and without creating a training institute.”