The Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaech, has revealed that the need for new approvals is responsible for the slow pace of work on the new Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge railway line.
Speaking with journalists after the inspection of the project on Friday in company with the Managing Director, Nigerian Railway Corporation, Mr Fidet Okhiria and Chairman, Board of Directors, NRC, Malam Ibrahim Al-Hassan-Musa, Amaechi expressed dissatisfaction with the level of work done in most of the sites visited and advised the contractor, China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CECC), to speed up work on the project before his next visit on September 23.
The inspection was coming barely 48 hours after the inauguration of the new Federal Executive Council (FEC) by President Muhammadu Buhari. which returned him to the ministry for the second time.
The inspection commenced at 8:50 a.m.at Costain in Lagos State where a bridge is being constructed. He later moved to inspect the Overpass at Asade level crossing at Agege and construction works at the 10 stations along the 156-kilometre rail line corridor which included Apapa, Kajola, Papalanto, Abeokuta and Omi Adio, among others.
He noted that the slow pace of work was too obvious at the Lagos end of the project which was due to lack of approval for extra works that needed to be done.
“They (contractors) cannot commence work until they get those approvals. We will go to the cabinet quickly and get those approvals so that they can continue with their construction,” he said.
The minister also cited delays in payment as another reason for the slow pace of work, saying that the contractors were waiting for a minister to approve their payments.
“Our appeal is that they should please hurry up and get into the seaports so that we can evacuate the goods at the seaports. We should at least be able to reduce what people refer to as Apapa gridlock,” he said.
Amaechi who denied giving December as the deadline to deliver the project said that he only wished that the project would be completed by December 2019.