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Gains of Nigeria’s new railway wagon assembly plant, by Amaechi

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[FILES] Chibuike Amaechi. Photo/Twitter/FRSCNigeria

Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, has said that about 5000 jobs would be generated from the railway wagon assembly plant being built at Kajola in Ogun State.

He said the plant was one of the gains of the Federal Government’s partnership with the Chinese Civil Engineering and Construction Company (CCECC) on the ongoing rail construction projects, particularly, the contract for the supply of rolling stock for the Abuja-Kaduna, Warri-Itakpe and Lagos-Ibadan rail lines.

The minister spoke during the plant’s ground-breaking ceremony performed by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at the project site in Kajola, at the weekend.

He said, “To meet the increasing demand of both passenger and freight on the new Nigeria Standard Gauge Railway Service, the Federal Government awarded contract for the procurement of Rolling Stock, that is, Locomotives, Coaches, Wagons and contemporary Diesel Multiple Units to serve movement of passengers and freight on the Abuja-Kaduna, Itakpe – Ajaokuta – Warri train services as well as the ongoing Lagos – Ibadan Railway. It will also serve any railway service in the West-African sub-region.

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“The Ministry of Transportation realizing the need of the advantage to set up this type of plant considering the potential need in view of the on-going rail projects in the country and the sub-region, encouraged Messrs CCECC to establish this plant. It is expected that the plant would generate job opportunities for Nigerians and as well facilitate the much-desired objective of the government towards the local content capacity development.

“It was in the pursuit of these objectives that the Federal Ministry of Transportation signed an agreement with Messrs. CCECC Nig. Limited in March, 2018 to establish this plant for the production and assembling of rolling stock, spare parts and maintenance equipment in Nigeria. Consequently, Messrs. CCECC conducted a feasibility study in which the choice of Kajola, Ogun State was arrived at as the suitable location for the project.

“This project is therefore a direct investment of Messrs. CCECC Nig. Ltd in the country and would remain as part of the gains from the contract signed for the Supply of rolling stock. This will be the first of its kind in Nigeria and the first batch of the wagons to be assembled from the production line of this plant will form part of the rolling stock for Lagos – Ibadan and Abuja – Kaduna Railway operations. Subsequently, other rolling stock would be produced as its production capacities increase.

“The project when completed would be able to generate about 5,000 jobs and in the long run Nigeria would be able to manufacture rolling stock for Nigerian use and for other African countries. More so, we would be able to conserve our much-needed foreign exchange, which can be deployed to other areas of development. Among all these, it is cardinal to mention that the sustainability of our railway modernization projects would depend on our ability to develop local capacity to construct, maintain and manage our new railway system.

“This project is germane to the railway development in Nigeria and CCECC should be given every reasonable support to actualize this investment.”

While performing the plant’s ground-breaking ceremony, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo hailed Amaechi for his commitment to all rail projects nationwide.

He said: “The vision you have shown and the initiative you have taken in the larger development journey of this great country will reap unparalleled rewards for you and great opportunity for our people.

“By linking our ports to rail lines and now, building the rolling stock locally, import and export business within and out of Africa’s largest market will be completely transformed. When completed, it is expected that the plant would produce some parts of the wagons for the Lagos – Ibadan and Abuja – Kaduna rail lines, but also for the central rail lines and to satisfy the needs of other rail operators within the West-African sub-region.”

“Secondly the siting of the plant here in Nigeria and the commitment to hiring Nigerians and Nigerian businesses affirms the President’s directives in Executive Order 5 on prioritizing Nigerians and Nigerian businesses in the innovation, production and procurement of engineering projects and services.

“We are optimizing the Lagos-Ibadan rail modernization project by extending it to the Apapa Port, the nation’s busiest port for the efficient movement of cargo from the port to various destinations. This will expedite import/export flows, decongest the ports, and depressurize our roads in the process.

“Also, we are putting all mechanisms in place to achieve the swift completion of the Ibadan Inland Dry port which will off-take containers and cargoes from Apapa port through the Lagos – Ibadan rail line.

Also, Managing Director of CCECC, Jiang Yigao expressed the company’s commitment to work with Nigerian authorities to achieve the country’s aim of modernising its railway.

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