FG Concessions Narrow Gauge Railway Lines to GE

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Chika Nwachukwu-Amanze

The Federal Executive Council (FEC) on Wednesday approved an interim agreement for the concession of the Lagos-Kano and Port Harcourt-Maiduguri old narrow gauge railway lines to a consortium led US engineering conglomerate, General Electric (GE).

According to the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, who briefed State House correspondents, the interim concession agreement would allow the consortium to immediately commence improvements in the operational capacity of the rail network.

The approval, Mohammed added, would aid the completion and full utilisation of the narrow guage system from October this year.

He said the development “means that with effect from October this year, there will be new locomotives with about 17 wagons that will be in use; we’ll be able to move a million tonnes of our goods, and by this, preserve the lifespan of our roads”.

The consortium that the concession has been handed to comprises General Electric, South Africa’s Transnet and Sino Hydro from China.

The government said the concession arrangement with GE would see investments of over $2 billion in the country’s major narrow-gauge railway lines.

The US firm was announced as the preferred concessionaire in May by the federal government after it had emerged as the preferred bidder for the railway lines.

“We are giving the narrow gauge system to GE as a concession. The concession will be for about 30 years, in which GE will rehabilitate and run it over that duration,” Transportation Minister Rotimi Amaechi had said.
“With the agreement being signed, we expect that they (GE) commence operations immediately. They will operate and repair the narrow gauge.”

It is believed that the concession deal with GE is the first of many to come as part of the government’s drive to revitalise Nigeria’s ailing infrastructure.

  • FrNinja

    what a poorly structured concession. The FGN should have required at least 20% equity for the Nigerian Railways Corporation in the concessioning agreement a la Nigeria LNG. GE/Transnet/Sino Hydro know that once they invest in rolling stock its all green from there on out. From the Ports to the interior they will be moving primarily fuel and making money on it.

  • share Idea

    Government of GEJ spent huge sums of money to rehabilitate the narrow guages in this article, and this administration is concessioning same for such a long period without proper due process.

    The nation was told sometime last year that GE would be running our railway as they had promised to bring in about $2B. However, GE executive Chairman denied same but congirmed that $2B was total amount earmarked for investment for the whole of Africa.

    Can anybody cite any link were this administration advertised for the bidding of this process. APC government is the most fraudulent administration ever to govern Nigeria.

  • austin

    So they’ll retain the narrow Guage. Can modern trains run on the narrow Guage?

    • FrNinja

      Most of Australia and South Africa’s railway system runs on narrow gauge. Cargo generally DOES not need standard gauge .

  • AyoJon

    Good news

  • tobias

    Can someone help me out. Where will the standard gauge route from Lagos to kano pass?

    • Taiwo Umolu

      It will be by the side of the present narrow gauge

      • Mr. A

        Yes. That’s correct.

  • Thisday News Editor