AMAECHI IN HOT SOUP!!! SENATE PROBES MINISTER OF TRANSPORT OVER $2BN RAIL LINES CONCESSIONING

AMAECHI IN HOT SOUP!!! SENATE PROBES MINISTER OF TRANSPORT OVER $2BN RAIL LINES CONCESSIONING

AMAECHI IN HOT SOUP!!! SENATE PROBES MINISTER OF TRANSPORT OVER $2BN RAIL LINES CONCESSIONING

SENATE yesterday resolved to probe the Federal Ministry of Transport headed by Mr. Rotimi Amaechi over the procedure leading to concessioning of Port Harcourt-Maiduguri and Lagos-Kano rail lines worth $2 billion to a United State conglomerate, General Electric, GE. Specifically, the Upper House mandated its committees on Privatization, Land Transport, Finance, Anti- Corruption and Financial Crimes, Special Duties, Trade and Investment and Judiciary to carry out the investigation.

The resolution followed a motion moved by Senator Bassey Akpan (PDP Akwa Ibom North East), who observed that Amaechi violated the Public Enterprises (Privatization and Commercialization) Act, 1999 by “unilaterally engaging General Electric for the concession of the Western and Eastern Rail Lines”.

Senator Akpan in the motion, added that upon approval of the project by the National Privatization Council in April 2015, the Bureau of Public Enterprise, BPE and the Nigeria Infrastructure Advisory Facility had developed a roadmap.

He said the BPE had engaged the Global Infrastructure Facility and the World Bank in discussions on how to access funds to manage the project before Mr. Amaechi’s “unilateral” deal with GE. He went further to quote the Minister in an interview with CNBC in June this year, where he allegedly announced Nigeria’s engagement with GE regarding the concession of Western and Eastern rail lines – Lagos to Kano and Port Harcourt to Maiduguri respectively – worth around $2 billion. Amaechi, according to Akpan said in the interview: “GE is already in; we are trying to get the government agencies to allow us negotiate with GE,” Mr. Amaechi said.

“The company is going to bring in over $2 billion in the Nigerian railway sector in which they are going to revive the Lagos-Kano narrow gauge and revive the Port Harcourt-Maiduguri narrow gauge by private investment”. “Due to lack of funds, concession appears the method of choice of the Muhammadu Buhari administration for major projects. Apart from the rail lines, the government has also announced its decision to concession Nigeria’s four major international airports”.

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