August 16, 2022

Reporters’ Diary

Factual Reportage

Amaechi tasks indigenous contractors on due process in contract bidding

The Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi, has urged indigenous engineering contractors to follow due process while bidding for contracts in the country.

Amaechi gave the advice on Friday while inspecting the Lagos/Ibadan Standard Gauge Railway inaugurated by President Muhamadu Buhari on June 10.

The minister said that respect for due process would enable them qualify for jobs in the ongoing construction of railway in the country.

He also urged Nigerian contractors to personally apply and follow the slated requirements and stop applying through other construction companies’ profiles.

Amaechi attributed the break down of Abuja-Kaduna railway route which commenced operations in 2016, to “lack of maintenance”.

He added that the Managing Director of Nigerian Railway Corporation, Mr Fidet Okhiria, had informed him that the corporation was yet to receive spare parts ordered for.

Amaechi said that the ministry would ask the Chinese Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) to release some rolling stocks ordered for Lagos to Ibadan rail tentatively, for Abuja-Kaduna rail for quick maintenance before the delivery arrived.

He said that access roads along the Lagos-Ibadan railway corridors had been completed.

The minister said that government was seeking to attract more youths into the NRC by working to improve conditions of service.

On the construction of the Port-Harcourt to Enugu standard gauge, Amaechi said that the ministry was yet to get approval for procurement.

“We have to wait for the Department of Public Procurement to give us approval. We also need the Federal Executive Council to give us approval on the supervising engineers before commencement.

“If the supervising engineers are not in place to tick off the drawings, we cannot consult the project because that is where we are and that is the challenges we are having with Kano-Makurdi and Port-Harcourt-Maiduguri rail project.

“As we are talking today, we have secured a loan facility for Lagos /Calabar, but we will not start until we contact the engineers and I am worried that it may take us to the end of the year 2021.
“I heard that they concealed the old advertisement to enable indigenous contractors to benefit.
“We are asked to go for another advert which will take between four and six weeks after which the ministry will require two to four weeks to tidy up.”
The minister said that the second advertisement for bid of contracts would affect commencement of work on the other approved rail projects in the country.
Amaechi said that the Lagos-Ibadan train operations moved a total of 42,000 passengers in June.
“We expect the figure to increase in the coming months when the system commences operation of Lagos/Ibadan standard gauge railway,” he said.