The federal government has set its sight on taking delivery of 10 new coaches from China in June, 2019 as part of the first batch of the 64 coaches expected from China.
According to the minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, these initial 10 coaches are to reduce the congestion at the Abuja-Kaduna rail line. Ameachi, who revealed this in China, when he led a delegation to inspect the pace of work at the Chinese Railway Rolling stock Corporation (CRRC) Tangshan Co. Limited, said he requested that 10 coaches be delivered to Nigeria latest June to relieve the burden on the Abuja-Kaduna line as well as the Lagos-Ibadan line which will soon be ready.
In a press statement by the director of Press, Ministry of Transportation, Muhammad Idris, the minister said: “We need coaches by June latest. We need coaches that can carry men from one point to another and we need a minimum of 10 coaches now out of the 64. I requested for 10 coaches now because we need to improve on Kaduna-Abuja line. If the 10 doesn’t come, there is nothing I can do but it has to come because they have to manufacture for us to use in Kaduna-Abuja and again, Lagos- Ibadan will soon be ready, we also have to ensure that we get coaches that we can be using, pending when they finish construction of the 64 coaches”.
Meanwhile, the minister also visited the CRRC Shandong, to inspect the cargo wagons being built for Nigeria, where he disclosed that there was a verbal agreement with the CCECC to localise the railway industry in Nigeria which was supposed to produce 15 percent of the coaches, locomotives and wagons.
He said: “We had a verbal agreement for them to produce 15 percent of the coaches, locomotives and wagons, they came back and said it was too expensive to establish locomotives and coaches factory, that we can start with wagon and do 100 percent assembly in Nigeria for the first five years, after the first five years, they will now build a factory that will manufacture wagons in Nigeria.
“It is not part of the contract we signed in 2017 but I insisted that for me to sign, they must localise it to create more jobs, reduce the expenditure of foreign exchange. Instead of going to buy dollars, you pay the Chinese in their local currency.’’
Also, the general manager, CRRC Tangshan Co. Limited, Mr. Zhou Junnian expressed excitement over the visit of the Nigerian delegation to the CRRC and for their trust. He explained that the passenger coach components are 100 percent from China, adding that materials for works depends on the speed of the product and the customer requirements. He further stated that in the future, CRRC will work with the CCECC to meet the high standard and quality needed to finish the projects.