Vice President Yemi Osibanjo has performed the ground breaking ceremony for the establishment of Railway Wagon Assembly Plant (RWAP) in Kajola, Ogun State, which is projected to create 5000 jobs.
Speaking during the weekend at the ground breaking ceremony, the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi, described the plant as one of the gains of the federal government’s partnership with the Chinese Civil Engineering and Construction Company (CCECC) on the ongoing rail construction projects in the country.
“The project when completed would be able to generate about 5,000 jobs and in the long run Nigeria would be able to manufacture rolling stock for Nigerian use and for other African countries. More so, we would be able to conserve our much-needed foreign exchange, which can be deployed to other areas of development,” Amechi said.
He explained that the ministry encouraged Messrs CCECC to establish the plant in view of the on-going rail projects in the country and the sub-region. The plant would also generate job opportunities for Nigerians and facilitate the much-desired objective of the government to enhance the local content capacity development in the country.
“It was in the pursuit of these objectives that the Federal Ministry of Transportation signed an agreement with Messrs. CCECC Nigeria Limited in March, 2018, to establish this plant for the production and assembling of rolling stock, spare parts and maintenance equipment in Nigeria. Consequently, Messrs. CCECC conducted a feasibility study in which the choice of Kajola, Ogun State, was arrived at as the suitable location for the project.
“This project is therefore a direct investment of Messrs. CCECC Nig. Ltd in the country and would remain as part of the gains from the contract signed for the Supply of rolling stock. This will be the first of its kind in Nigeria and the first batch of the wagons to be assembled from the production line of this plant will form part of the rolling stock for Lagos – Ibadan and Abuja – Kaduna Railway operations. Subsequently, other rolling stock would be produced as its production capacities increase,” Amechi said.
Osibanjo noted that the project is an important one for Nigeria, as it would not only produce, but provide support and growth for indigenous engineers and generate employment for thousands of Nigerians.
“This ceremony is not just another event. It is a historic turning point, for us. The railway is not just an alternative and comfortable mode of travel, it holds the master key to transforming commerce in Nigeria and across the continent.
“Secondly the citing of the plant here in Nigeria and the commitment to hiring Nigerians and Nigerian businesses affirms the Presidents directives in Executive Order 5 on prioritizing Nigerians and Nigerian businesses in the innovation, production and procurement of engineering projects and services,” Osibanjo said.
Also, Managing Director of CCECC, Jiang Yigao expressed the company’s commitment to work with Nigerian authorities to achieve the country’s aim of modernising its railway.
“The concept of this wagon assembly plant is to grow local technology and ultimately make Nigeria not only self-sufficient in certain components of locomotive rolling stock, but also an exporter. With the completion and operation of the Abuja to Kaduna Railway, Abuja Rail Mass Transit and work on other railway projects, the plant will play a pivotal role in ensuring the provision of wagons. The socio-economic benefits of the plant cannot be overemphasized. A number of youths will be employed and it will stimulate the creation of other ancillary jobs and bring development not only to Kajola community but the South West in general,” Yigao said.