By Olasunkanmi Akon
The Senate has charged contractor handling the Lagos to Kano railway modernization project, China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation, CCECC, to maximize local content in the area of raw materials and labour force during implementation of the project.
Members of Senate had earlier approved the loan request for the execution of Lagos to Kano, and Lagos to Calabar railway modernization projects.
Federal Government had laid before the National Assembly on the 26thof April, 2017, a request seeking an approval for a loan in the sum of $6.4 Billion from China Exim Bank.
The sum of $5,851 Billion of the total is however, being sought to execute the Modernisation of Lagos to Kano, Kano to Kaduna, Lagos to Ibadan and Lagos to Calabar rail segment.
The upper chamber of the National Assembly gave the charge, yesterday, when the Joint Senate Committee on Local and Foreign Debt and Land Transport conducted an oversight visit to the Nigerian Railway Corporation Headquarters and the project office of CCECC in Ebute Metta, Lagos to access the Lagos-Ibadan segment of the project.
The purpose of the visit it was gathered to assist the committee assess the project implementation plan for the recently approved loan request by the Federal Government from the China Exim Bank for the purpose of completing various railway rehabilitation/construction projects across the country.
Chairman of the Senate Committee on Land Transport Senator, Gbenga Ashafa, and Chairman, Senate Committee on Local and Foreign Debts, Senator Shehu Sanni, led the delegation from the Senate.
Ashafa, stressed the need for project contractor to ensure that they maximize the local materials and manpower in order to have direct impact on the Nigerian economy.
According to Ashafa, “We are confident that the Lagos to Kano, and Calabar to Lagos railway modernization projects would in no small way further reinvigorate the Nigerian economy through the creation of jobs.
“We therefore, call on CCECC to maximize local content in the area of raw materials and labour force.
“The focus of this visit is to immediately set in perspective our commitment to ensuring a high level of accountability in public expenditure.
“This is in line with our constitutional responsibility to carry out periodic oversight functions to the Ministries, Departments and Agencies under the supervision of the Joint Committee.”
Similarly, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Local and Foreign debt, Senator Shehu Sanni stated that with the recent approval of the Railway Loan by the Senate, the Contractor has no excuse but to deliver on its mandate.
On his part, the representative of the contractor, Mr. Leo Yinv conducted members of the committee through the project implementation plan for the completion of the Lagos to Ibadan Segment of the Lagos to Kano Railway modernization project and assured that while all pre-fabrication works was being done in the interim, substantial earthwork would commence on the project towards the end of November 2017.
From the headquarters of project in Ebute Metta, the Senators also conducted an on the spot assessment of the earthwork of the project across Lagos and assured all stakeholders of the Nigerian Senate’s commitment to assisting the Executive arm in the actualization of every developmental project within its purview.
Other members of the Joint Committee who were present include: Senator Yahaya Abdulai and Senator Philip Gyunka. The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Transport, Alhaji Sabiu Zakari, Managing Director of the Nigerian Railway Corporation, Mr. Fidet Okhiria, among others.