By Marcus Ikechukwu
Members of the Federal Executive Council on Wednesday approved a total sum of $187.7 million as contract cost for consultancy services and supervision of the Port Harcourt-Maiduguri, Kano-Maradi and Abuja- Warri rail lines.
Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi gave the information at the end of the Council meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The cost is also meant to cover the supervision of the Kano-Katsina-Dibia-Maradi rail lines.
According to Amaechi; “The ministry of transport presented two memos and the first one has to do with a contract for consultancy services for supervision of the various railway projects.
“You know that we have three or four railway projects that are yet to start or commence construction on and they include the Port Harcourt-Maiduguri, Kano-Maradi and then Abuja to Warri. Now, for the consultancy services, the following contractors were approved with a total cost of $187.7 million.
“The contractors are GE Engineers Infrastructure Excellence/Yaro son and partnership limited, Core Consulting Engineering Plc, that is for Abuja-Warri. And then for the consultants’ services for supervision of Port Harcourt-Maiduguri with batch lines to Bonny Deepsea Port and Port Harcourt industrial park, and then to Owerri, we have Gary consults SDBHD/Jabu Global Services Limited at $97.5 million.
“The first one is $38.4 million. Then the last one is consultancy services for the supervision of the Kano-Katsina-Dibia-Maradi rail line, to Techniques Engineering, Architecture Marketing Nigeria Limited and that is for $47,670 million, all of them for a period of 36 months.
“The second one, the cabinet approved a concession agreement for Onitsha River Port to a company called Universal Eligion consortium that will manage the River Port for 30 years”.
Amaechi also adduced reasons why the federal government is seeking more loans from European banks to complete its railway infrastructures before the expiration of the current political dispensation.
Rotimi while fielding questions from State House Correspondents, regarding recent claims that Nigeria was no longer getting loans from China for its rail poject, prompting the Nigerian government to turn its attention to Europe, explained that delays from Chinese necessitated the move.
Although, the Minister failed to give details of the loans being sought from the European banks, he said that of Kano-Maradi has gotten a favourable response from one of the banks, while that of Portharcourt-Maiduguri is also looking positive.
His words, “it was a press interview where I made that comment, and I said currently we are actually waiting for the Chinese to give us the loan we applied for and they kept delaying us and for Christ sake will we wait for them forever, the answer is no.
“So we have gone to Standard Chartered Bank, well they have approved of… well they have not done financial closure but they have approved some level of funding for Kano-Maradi. We are also pursuing Port Harcourt-Maiduguri with Standard Chartered Bank, these two essentially. The Lagos-Kano part of it will come from top financial bank or some bank in China”.
Asked how much is being expected in total? He said, “I don’t have that figure here, I have to go back to the office”.
Recall that Amaechi had been trending on social media insinuating that the Chinese was no longer interested in granting Nigeria loans for its railway projects.