Pressure being mounted on the Chinese Civil Engineering Construction Company (CCECC) to complete the Lagos-Ibadan Railway project before schedule, is for economic, rather than political reasons.
Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, made this clarification yesterday in Abuja, saying one of the solutions to the challenges at the Lagos ports is an efficient rail line.
He said once the railway system is fixed, it would be easier to transport goods through the rail line and it would ease the gridlock at the nation’s seaports.
“The pressure to complete the project is more economic than political, so you can see the reason why we must push them to finish the work, the moment they finish the Iju axis, we will push them to complete the seaport axis.
“This is just one and half years and they have progressed so well even though they gave us three years timeline,” he said.
While inspecting the project, he admitted that it was huge and expected to last three years, but the Federal Government has been pushing the contractors to complete the project before schedule, and urged Nigerians to be patient.
He said the contractors had complained of lack of equipment to get the job done as soon as possible, saying employing more hands was not the problem, but getting equipment for them to work, as the job requires heavy equipment.
The minister also disclosed that the contractors wanted to commence operation from Agbado on Lagos-Abeokuta axis, but he felt there were more passengers in Iju than Agbado.
So, it would be better to start from Iju, he added, noting that the operation would be highly subsidised, although it would be free for some time and that a lot of jobs would be created.
He noted that the contractors were expecting about 30 passenger coaches and 300 wagons along the Lagos-Ibadan rail line.
Speaking on the development, Chief Executive Officer of Financial Directives, Bismarck Rewane, maintained that the project, when completed, would have multiplier effect and help reduce inflation in terms of movement of goods.
He pointed out that the most important thing about the project is the impact it would have on investment, as it would create more jobs and increase productivity.