FG set to concession railway infrastructure

Minister of Transportation, Mr Chibuike Amaechi (left) signing an agreement for the completion of Warri-Aladja- Itapke-Ajaokuta- Eganyi-Jakura-Baro-Abuja (central) railway line between Nigeria and the Chinese Railway Construction Company (crcc), in Abuja on Friday. With him, from second left, are the legal officer of the ministry, Ijeoma Uche; Director of Rail Transport, Mohammed Babkobi; Legal Officer for crcc, Ziva Edegbe, and Vice President of the company, Chen Xiao Xing.Photo: nan.

THE Federal Government is taking steps to concession the railway infrastructure in the country.

Towards this, Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo on Friday in the State House, Abuja, inaugurated a steering committee to implement the initiative.

Speaking at the ceremony, Osinbajo stated that the purpose of the committee was to create a one-stop shop for the concession, fast-track the process and beat the red-tape and bureaucratic bottlenecks.

He said the steering committee on the concession of the nation’s railway, headed by the Transportation Minister, Mr. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, should be innovative, urging the members to remove whatever obstacles that stand in the way of a smooth concessioning process, hoping that the committee will meet its deadlines and end up “to be an example of how it should be done.”

Observing the challenges of bureacratic bottlenecks in the public service delivery system, he said the Buhari administration is determined to overcome it.

Explaining the importance of the committee, the vice-president added: “I think this steering committee is extremely important, because we have tried to bring together everybody that should be involved in this (concessioning) project in order to see to it that we deliver quickly and efficiently in a manner that justifies Federal Government’s expense in the project.”

Continuing he said, “the whole idea of the steering committee raises the issue we are trying to address, to have a one-stop shop for all approvals, objections or problems so that we can realise our target.”

Speaking after the inauguration, the Minister of Transportation, Mr Amaechi, said that the committee was set up to ensure the concession of the nation’s railway and is expected to submit its report in six months time.

The 20-member committee is composed of officials and individuals from relevant public and private sector agencies and firms.

The terms of reference for the committee are as follows:

To advise the National Council on Privatisation (NCP) on policy issues that impact on stakeholders interest;

To advise the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) on efforts at improving stakeholders relations;

To advise BPE and the Federal Ministry of Transportation on planning, coordination and implementation of Nigeria Railway Corporation;

To review existing legislations, reports, studies and any other relevant information on the railway sector and provide guidance on policy issues;

To review economic and financial viability of the project and recommend the level of Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) investment;

To review the concession framework developed by the Project Delivery Team;

To review the technical, financial and legal framework for the successful preparation and concession of the project;

To review the activities of the Project Delivery Team that would facilitate the concession, guide the project delivery team in the concession process, assist the concessionaire to obtain all clearances, approvals and permit as may be necessary;

To assist in organisation of workshops, and public awareness campaigns on the concession process;

To brief the NCP and Federal Executive Council (FEC) from time to time on the activities of the Steering Committee; and to carry out any other function that will facilitate the delivery.