By Gift Olivia Samuel, The Sight News
The Minister of Transportation, Hon. Chibuike Amaechi, has charged the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) to speed up work on the Lagos to Ibadan rail line.
The Minister who gave the charge while briefing Journalists in Lagos on Monday, expressed dissatisfaction with the pace of work, which he said the Contractor attributed to the transition in government.
In his words, “CCECC has not done too well. I used the phrase too well because at a time, they did us proud by trying to push this job. They claim that at the end of the last government, we were owing them some money and we had not given approval for the extra and additional jobs.
“But that’s not an excuse because we will still have given the approval. So they have slowed down so badly. We need to get them to that speed that they were before the last government was dissolved.
“We paid them on Friday. The Cabinet and President has approved the additional and extra work, so they have no excuse,” he said.
He stated that there won’t be delays if they get the loan for Ibadan-Kano, adding that the Ministry can then start quickly from Kano to Kaduna and Ibadan to Ilorin in order to quickly finish.
“There was a time when the contractor was working day and night and I hope maybe they might begin to work day and night to achieve the deadline,” the Minister said.
On the coastal rail, he revealed that they have already applied for a loan and when it is received, they will start the segment from Port Harcourt to Warri and from Benin to Onitsha, adding that the loan will be from China but not China EXIM bank.
Also Speaking, the Minister of State Transportation, Hon. Gbemisola Saraki stressed on the need to create jobs for the teeming Nigerian youth in the Maritime subsector.
She however expressed disappointment that the Cabotage Act passed many years ago has not been fully implemented.
“We have to go back again to look at the issue of the shipping industry and cabotage, and the main issues right now is that of port decongestion, and I was humbled to be one of the people who passed the cabotage Act and many years later, to see that it has not been fully implemented is a bit disheartening.
“I can assure you that the Maritime sector as it is done anywhere else in the world, is a sector that can create a lot of jobs and opportunities,” she ended.
Meanwhile, stations are already under construction and the 156 kilometres Lagos-Ibadan Railway project is left with three kilometres to get to the last point, The Sight News gathered from the Managing Director Railway, Fidet Okhiria.