By Taiye Elebiyo-Edeni
The Federal Government has signed 45million dollars interim phase agreement with General Electric (GE) for the concession of narrow gauge rail lines in the country.
The Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi disclosed this on Monday in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.
He said that the total money to be invested in the project was 2.7billion dollars after the whole agreement was concluded.
According to him, the interim phase include the rehabilitation of the rail lines, the management of the transportation and Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) participation in commercial activities.
“We came to conclusion on the narrow gauge, the interim phase of the narrow gauge, to enable us begin the initial rehabilitation of the rail lines, so that we can commence commercial activities.
“Both in terms of cargoes, freight and transportation, we have signed the initial and temporary agreement.
“We have also agreed on the main agreement which will cost $45million for the interim phase and $2.7billion for the entire project.”
Amaechi said with the interim agreement, GE would commence commercial activities for both cargoes and passengers before October.
He said that GE would be bringing in 10 coaches and 100 wagons, adding that additional 10 locomotives and coaches would be repaired.
He, however, said that by January GE intends to complete the whole interim process and move to the main phase.
Commenting on the issue of alleged racketeering at the Abuja-Kaduna rail line, the Minister said that he would investigate the matter, stating that he would be surprised if it was on.
“ I will investigate the matter because I will be surprised. We have provided additional coaches to increase the time they run, so I will be surprised, allow me investigate the issue,” he said.