Minister of Transportation Mr. Rotimi Amaechi has said the soon to be established locomotives assembly plant in Kajola, Ogun State will be owned and operated by Chinese.
The minister also said the Chinese company, CCECC, which is investing in the facility will source for funds to build it but that government will purchase locomotives from the firm when the plant comes on stream.
He made the disclosure yesterday during his monthly inspection tour of the Lagos-Ibadan double gauge rail project.
“The assembling company, I must state, belongs to the Chinese. The most important thing is that it creates employment and improves the economy which is our target at the end of the day,” he said. “We are not contributing anything to the establishment of the factory,” the minister further stated.
He also reiterated that Vice President Yemi Osinbajo will perform the ground breaking ceremony on November 8, 2019. Speaking on the details of the plant, Mr. Amaechi said “in signing the agreement between Nigeria and the Chinese company, we agreed with them that they should produce most of the materials they need locally and they said it would be a bit difficult for them. So we reached an agreement that they should start assembling wagons first.”
“Five years after that, they should start producing wagons and assembling coaches and locomotives and 10 years after that, they should start producing locomotives and coaches here,” he also stated. “Their argument is that if they produce, we will buy from them instead of buying from outside and I told them that we will enter into agreement to buy from them.
That way, we will be able to pay with naira and save the scarce dollars that we have,” the minister said. On the Lagos-Ibadan rail project, he said he has given CCECC November 25th to get the tracks up to Ebute Metta in Lagos and Ibadan. The distance from Iju to Ebute Metta is 19km, which hasn’t been fixed because of infrastructure obstructions and sustained rainfall. “The delay is caused by the weather and there is nothing anybody can do. If we come back next month and their excuse remains weather related, there is nothing we can do.
They told me that out of the 30 days in October, it rained 23 days. They also said that even if it stops raining, they need few days for the soil to be ready for the work. We just have to pray that the rain doesn’t fall,” the minister noted. He also said: “On the 30th of November, we will commence test run but the issue is that we want to start it from Ebute Metta but they are saying Iju will be ready. As far as Lagosians are concerned, Iju is in Ogun State. I just want them to get to Ebute Metta.”