Ministry mulls concession of Abuja-Kaduna rail

Posted by News Express | 20 February 2016 | 2,607 times

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The Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi, has said that the Abuja-Kaduna rail project may be concessioned to China Civil Engineering Construction Company (CCECC), to operate.

Amaechi announced this at Idu, Abuja, on Friday, after riding in the train from Kaduna to Abuja.

He expressed the belief that the company has the capacity to do so.

He said the ministry was considering the concession to Nigerians or the company that built the standard gauge, noting that it was the first time Nigeria was operating standard gauge.

According to him, the main priority of the ministry is to train Nigerians on operation and maintenance of the rail, adding that trains cannot be taken abroad when it is bad.

“There is an argument in the ministry if we should concession it to CCECC that built it because they have the capacity to run it as a construction company.

“Or should we concession to outsider, those Nigerians that also have the capacity to run a train service, you know it’s been long, we have never had a standard gauge, this is the first time.

“So the likelihood of concessioning it to CCECC is higher than to Nigerians, looking at the capacity or expertise but the key thing to me is that training must start today.

“They must begin to train Nigerians who will take over both operations and maintenance. They certainly cannot dump the technology on us.”

Amaechi said the toilet at the Kaduna rail station must be expanded, adding that three toilets were inadequate for the numbers of passengers expected to use the service.

He, however, said 15 toilets must be created at the station noting that test running the train has indicated some areas that need alignment on the rail line.

He stated that arrangements were concluded with the Minister of FCT to use the Abuja light rail track to pick passengers from the city center to Idu.

Amaechi reiterated commitment to free test run by passengers in March adding that ticketing would start in May with the commercial operation. (NAN)

•Photo shows Amaechi.

Source: News Express

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