FG, CRCCI Sign $3.9bn Agreement for Abuja-Itakpe Railway, Warri Seaport.

Gift Olivia Samuel, The Sight News

ABUJA—The Nigerian Government and the China Railway Construction Corporation International (CRCCI), have signed a $3.9 billion Public Private Partnership (PPP) agreement for Abuja to Itakpe and Lokoja railway line, including the Warri seaport.

The Sight News gathered that the signing ceremony which was held in Abuja, was for Abuja-Baru-Itakpe-Lokoja railway projects and Warri seaport, and the CRCCI is expected to manage the projects for 30 years after construction and hand it over to the Nigerian Government.

Speaking to Journalists on Thursday, the Minister of Transportation, Hon. Chibuike Amaechi, said that the agreement is supposed to be 15 percent Nigerian equity and 10 percent CRCCI equity and then 75 percent will be borrowed as Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) from the Chinese bank.

According to Amaechi, “Part of the agreement is that CRCCI will provide us with a performance bond from their bank before we give a sovereign guarantee for them to be able to borrow the 75%. And then, there is a concession agreement that CRCCI will manage both the railway and the seaport and recover the 75 percent and pay the money”. 

He further noted that the entire railway in Nigeria for now, is constructed 100 by CRCC, adding that the good working relationship Nigeria has had with CRCC  is the reason the country has not been able to engage with other companies.

“Nigeria is waiting for CRCC at Abuja to Itakpe and Warri seaport. Before the approval at the Federal Cabinet, CRCCI was pushing us with so much pressure to approve it, we approved it and they are not on site.  There is a need for CRCCI to go to site. If we raise our equity they will raise theirs together. But largely, is that the funds will come from China,” he noted. 

The Minister also instructed both CCECC and CRCCI to realise the need to localise the technology, adding that there is a need for local participation of both Nigerian engineers and contractors.

In his words, “We need you to work with us to develop the knowledge of Nigerians, that’s why we emphasize on the universities we are asking you to build, we are expecting that not only will you build, you will provide us with lecturers until we can train our own lecturers. 

“Just like we are holding CCECC on issue of manufacturing at Kajola, for which we have awarded them the contract of about 500 million dollars to build for us rolling stock for Lagos-Ibadan, we will also resume conversation with CRCCI on the issue of manufacturing of railway components in Nigeria”, he ended.

Earlier, the Vice President, CRCCI, Wang Wenzhong, said that the company will use its best resources in constructions in Nigeria, to ensure that the projects are of good quality.

He further noted that they have made efforts for financing the Ibadan to Kano project especially the financial institutions and expressed hopes that the federal government will treat the project as a priority and create counterpart funds, so that they can start the project in earnest and ensure timely completion of the project.

He said, “We pay a lot of attention to the development of Nigeria and we also make use of our best resources in Nigeria. We are going to provide our resources to assist in the development of Nigeria.

“We also demand our subsidiaries to work hard for Nigeria and also the people and we want all our projects in Nigeria to be the best in terms of quality, to meet the satisfaction of the people of Nigeria”, he remarked.

He appealed to the Nigerian government to provide continuous support for the development of CRCC in Nigeria, adding that they have some mega projects like the Ibadan railway which has taken a great importance in d development of Nigeria.

“With your assistance, we hope that the concession operation agreement could be signed in a short time and we can start this project by the end of this year to release the gridlock of Apapa area”, he ended.

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