…says project moving at snail-pace
In a scathing statement, the Minister of Transportation, Sai’du Alkali, lashed out at the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) for what he described as their poor performance on the Port-Harcourt to Maiduguri narrow gauge rail project.
Stating that the project is being carried out at snail-pace, Alkali wondered why 63 kilometer could not be finished 12 months, expressing worry that the company may not be able to complete over 2000 km in 36 months
The Honourable Minister of Transportation spoke when he recently visited Port-Hacourt for an-on-the-spot assessment of the Eastern rail project
“I am not happy; not just unhappy, but disappointed with the pace of work being done on this project.
“Between Port Harcourt and Aba section, only 47 percent completion stage had been achieved, instead of achieveing 47 percent completion of the entire stretch from Port Harcourt to Maiduguri.
“If you cannot complete Port Harcourt to Aba which is 63km in 12 months, how would you be able to complete over 2000km in 36 months?” Alkali asked.
Furthermore, the Minister expressed dismay on the use of manual alignment processes by the CCECC in laying the tracks in this 21st century.
Speaking further, Alkali also expressed displeasure about the contractor’s inability to provide the 85% percentage funding for the project.
He stated that the project which was signed two years ago expressly indicated that the Federal Government will provide 15 per cent while Messrs CCECC is to bring in 85 per cent funding for the project.
He however, disclosed that the 15 per cent from the Federal Government is what has kept the project ongoing with no input from the contractor up till now.
The Minister gave the assurance that he would re-examine the contract within the ambit of the law and whatever the law states as regards breach of contract, he would enforce
Alkali identified one of the striking benefits to be the linking up of the two Sea Ports in Port – Harcourt to Maiduguri as well as promotion of regional trading at a highly reduced cost.
Speaking earlier, representative of CCECC, Mr. C. Ching said the first section of the project, which was from Port Harcourt to Aba would be delivered by December 2023, saying they have enough materials on ground, to meet the target date.