The Federal government has concluded plans to deploy ten additional coaches to alleviate the stress of passengers on the Abuja- Kaduna rail line by June 2019.
Minister of Transportation Rotimi Amaechi made this known after inspection of 64 coaches ordered by Nigeria under construction in China.
Amaechi who led a delegation to China to inspect the pace of work at the Chinese Railway Rolling stock Corporation(CRRC) Tangshan Co., Ltd said he requested that ten of the coaches be delivered to Nigeria latest June to ease the congestion on the Abuja-Kaduna rail line.
“We need coaches by June latest. We need coaches that can carry men from one point to another and we need a minimum of 10 coaches now out of the 64.
“I requested for 10 coaches now because we need to improve on kaduna-Abuja line. If the 10 doesn’t come there is nothing I can do but it has to come because they have to manufacture for us to use in Kaduna-Abuja and again, Lagos- Ibadan will soon be ready, we also have to ensure that we get coaches that we can be using, pending when they finish construction of the 64 coaches”.
He however noted that the pace of work is slow and urged the manufacturers to increase their pace noting that the contract span has expired.
“The pace of construction is slow and they need to improve on it. In fact the contract has expired, we may not have paid all the money but we paid quite a substantial sum and therefore they should construct speedily.
“The contract was signed in December 2017 and was supposed to expire in February 2019. The time has expired and there is a breach of contract but we will look at what the law says because more than one third of the money has been paid”, he disclosed.
For his part, the General Manager, CRRC Tangshan Co., Ltd, Mr. Zhou Junnian explained that the passenger coach components are 100 percent from China, adding that materials for works depends on the speed of the product and the customer requirements.
He gave assurance that in the future, CRRC will work with the CCECC to meet the high standard and quality needed to finish the projects.
The Minister who also visited the CRRC Shandong, to inspect the cargo wagons being built for Nigeria, disclosed that there was a verbal agreement with the CCECC to localise the railway industry in Nigeria which was supposed to produce 15% of the coaches, locomotives and wagons.
“We had a verbal agreement for them to produce 15 % of the coaches, locomotives and wagons, they came back and said it was too expensive to establish locomotives and coaches factory, that we can start with wagon and do 100 % assembly in Nigeria for the first five (5) years.
The contract to produce coaches for Nigeria is not with the CRRC but with CCECC