Dele Ogbodo in Abuja
The Minister of Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, wednesday said the federal government had concluded plans to concession the railway sector.
Considering the enormous benefits to be derived from concessions of some rail lines to genuine investors, Amaechi said there was no going back on the planned concession by government.
The government has announced plans to concession the Port Harcourt-Maiduguri and Lagos-Kano lines to US conglomerate General Electric (GE).
Under the $2 billion proposal, GE is asking for 25 years to build and upgrade the railway lines, but the proposal has to be reviewed by a team of advisers and Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC).
A statement made available to the media by the ministry in Abuja, said the minister made the disclosure when members of the Senior Staff Association of Statutory Corporation and Government Owned Companies, led by Mr. Mohammed Yunusa, paid him a courtesy call in Abuja.
Amaechi, according to the statement, appealed to the Union and other similar groups to give peace a chance and allow the country progress in the right direction.
According to him, government should not be burdened with unprofitable agitations and actions capable of denying Nigerians of the long awaited benefits from the concession of the railway sector.
The minister assured the union leaders that staff of the Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC), will not lose their jobs in the process of concession, noting that government would guarantee the job security of their members by ensuring that the new management take steps to complement government’s efforts for harmonious working relations.
In a remark, Yinusa, while highlighting the challenges facing the unions, said: “The unions are currently going through shortages of rolling stocks/coaches, poor welfare package for their members, and unfavourable working conditions.
He urged the minister to push for the repeal of the 1955 Laws that established the Nigerian Railway Corporation before the concession.