The federal government monday signed a Memorandum of Understanding ( MoU) with the United States' General Electric Company (Transportation) to assemble 200 locomotives in Nigeria.
Minister of Transport, Senator Idris Umar, while speaking at a media briefing in Abuja, to highlight the mid-term achievements of President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration, said the locomotives would be assembled over a period of 10 years under a special country-to-country relationship.
Describing the MoU as an investment incentive, the minister explained that the agreement also covered upgrading and development of a multi-modal locomotives assembly facility in Nigeria.
He added that the federal government had already procured 25 new locomotives from General Electric, with 366 coaches and wagons refurbished for use by the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC).
The country, he added, was expecting the arrival of four new locomotives by July.
“An order has been placed for two sets of Diesel Multiply Units, DMUs, of capacity of 640 passengers each to arrive in December 2013. Another order is placed for the procurement of six modern air conditioned coaches, which has a seating capacity of 68 passengers each, that will arrive in December 2013”, he added.
According to him, President Jonathan had also approved the remodelling and redevelopment of major railway stations to incorporate modern commercial outlets under a Private-Public Partnership (PPP) arrangement.
While stating that the process for the engagement of the PPP would soon commence, Umar named the railway stations to be remodelled and redeveloped to include, Ido Terminal in Lagos State; Ebute Metta junction station in Lagos; Ilorin station, Kaduna junction station, Kano station, Port Harcourt station, Enugu station, Jos station and Gombe station.
On the construction of standard gauge lines, the minister said the completion of the construction and rehabilitation of 274-kilometre standard gauge line from Itakpe-Ajaokuta-Warri had reached 77 per cent completion rate.
He said: “The construction of Abuja, Idu-Kaduna standard gauge line (187 kilometres) is 65 per cent completed. The contract for the construction of double track 180 kilometres Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge line has been awarded and work will commence this year.”
On inland waterways, Umar said: “The nation’s navigable waterways lining more than 20 states and comprising 12 major rivers, creeks, lagoons, lakes and intra-coastal waters aggregate to a total navigable distance of about 3,800 kilometres constituting an important natural resource that offers extensive opportunities for inland water transportation.
“The federal government has completed the capital dredging of the Lower River Niger from Warri in Delta State to Baro in Niger State to facilitate all-year navigability. The channel runs through major towns such as Warri, Onitsha, Agenebode, Ida, Jamata, and Baro.
He added that maintenance dredging for the 572 kilometres waterways was currently in progress and bulk cargo transportation on the dredged river had also begun with the movement of 1,200 tonnes of ceramic tiles from Lokoja to Onitsha by Messrs Ninon Transport Company.
On ports development, the minister noted that the federal government was currently making efforts to develop deep sea ports in collaboration with the private sector at Lekki and Badagry in Lagos State, Ibaka in Akwa Ibom State, Obidigbe in Delta State, Olokola in Ogun and Ondo States as well as Agge in Bayelsa State.
He said the current policy of port development was on equity participation of 20 per cent by the federal government, 20 per cent by the host state and 60 per cent by the private sector.