The Federal Government has disclosed that come May 29, General Electric (GE) will bring in 20 locomotives and 200 wagons to boost the country’s rail transit services.
As part of the ongoing negotiations with the GE, the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi pointed out that the concessionaire showed more interest in cargoes hence its decision to bring in the 200 wagons which would aid massive freight movements from North to the South thereby reducing the pressure on Nigerian roads.
Speaking with journalists after an inspection of the Lagos-Ibadan railway expansion programme, Rotimi Amaechi stated that the agreement with GE provides the opportunity for Nigeria to start producing its own locomotives. He added that GE would start assembling locomotive and coaches locally while efforts will be made to begin local manufacturing within five years.
Amaechi said concessioning the Railway Corporation remains the way out of the rot in the railway. He said: ”For Nigerians to embrace the railway, they must see improved services”.
The Minister also mentioned GE’s plans to building a University of Transportation and a Faculty of Railway Studies to enhance the training of workers of the Nigerian Railway Corporation.
According to the Minister, “One of the agreement we had with GE is based on training of the railway workforce. GE has agreed to create a University of Transportation and discussion is presently focused on where to locate the university. GE will start building the University the same day concession starts. When they complete the University, lecturers will be hired by GE to start training the workers”, as quoted by Top Nigeria News.
The Minister during the inspection, directed that owners of structures still standing along the Right of Way (ROW) be given two weeks before such encumbrances are demolished. He stated that the affected people will be compensated by the Federal Government.
The President, African Railway Union, Mr. Raphael Okoro, said the workers would support the government’s plan provided that adequate severance package would be negotiated and paid to those to be disengaged.
Source: Top Nigeria News