The Federal Government and four companies led by General Electric have signed an agreement to start the interim phase of the Nigerian narrow-gauge railway concession.
According to a report by TheCable, the move was disclosed in a statement signed by head of communications, GE Nigeria, Yewande Thorpe, which noted that the interim phase will include â€œlight remedial civil and track repair worksâ€ on the narrow gauge rail line.
â€œAdditionally, a joint operation will be established between the consortium and the Nigeria Railway Corporation with a supply of 10 locomotives and 200 wagons provided to augment the existing rolling stock in Nigeria,â€ the statement read.
Other companies involved in the agreement are SinoHydro, an infrastructure construction company, Transnet, a logistics infrastructure management company, and APM Terminals, a ports services provider.
The concession agreement, which will be negotiated after the interim phase, will expand the rail service to up to 200 locomotives and rehabilitate the entire rail system, the statement added.
â€œGE is committed to the sustainable development of Nigeria and as such we are delighted to have reached this crucial stage of the project to revamp and revitalise the countryâ€™s legacy rail infrastructure system,â€ GE CEO, Lazarus Angbazo, said.
â€œThe consortium looks forward to commencing execution of this interim phase with the continued support of the federal government and the ministry of transportation. As operations begin, our strong partners, such as Transnet and SinoHydro, will bring their strong operating and development skills to the forefront.â€
Minister for transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, described the project as unprecedented commitment on the part of the federal government.
â€œThis milestone project is an unprecedented commitment by the Federal Government of Nigeria, which, combined with the GE-led Consortiumâ€™s drive to modernising Nigeriaâ€™s rail infrastructure, will add immense value to Nigeriaâ€™s long term economic growth and productivity,â€ he said.
â€œThis will be an important catalyst for small and medium enterprises and a key provider of almost incalculable socio-economic benefits for the many Nigerian towns and villages through which the rail network passes.â€