Reports of the proposed Ghana Railway line construction of 560km, which cost was put at $2.2b have once again brought to the fore Nigeria’s 146 km lbadan-Lagos railway line contract put at the same cost with critics accusing the government of former president Goodluck Jonathan government of inflating the cost of the project.
Those who know about the project have alleged that it was three times more expensive when compared with the cost of the proposed two rail projects in Ghana.
Some insiders in the Ministry of Transportation in Nigeria have however, described the comparison as unfair, especially as it is coming at a time when they said those who awarded the contracg have left office.
Investigations revealed that the reports, which appeared in the website of the Ghana Ministry of Railways Development have unsettled some people in the Ministry of Transport in Nigeria and that “they felt the matter should be given all the attention it deserved.”
They maintained that the revelations were coming at the wrong time and that it was the handiwork of “some enemies of progress that are jealous of the achievements of the immediate past Minster of Transport in Nigeria, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi.”
According to them, the contract was awarded during the era of former president Goodluck Jonathan and Amaechi had no hand in the contract since it was awarded before he got into office.
“We know where this is coming from. They are doing this to rubbish the humble achievements of Mr. Rotimi Amaechi as Minister of Transport. Where were they when former president Goodluck Jonathan was in office. Why are they bringing the reports out now?
“Amaechi had nothing to do with the contract at all. It had been sealed before he got into office.
“He achieved a lot in his time and he could not abandon the project because the government of President Muhammadu Buhari believes in completing all the projects it inherited from the last government.
“So, it is totally unfair to criticise Amaechi for the recklessness of the government of former president Goodluck Jonathan, which awarded the Lagos-Ibadan railline project.
“We didn’t start the project, it was inherited by our government and so whoever wants to point any accusing finger should point it at ex-president Goodluck Jonathan and his co-travellers,” said a source in the Transport Ministry in Nigeria.
It was gathered that the Managing Director of Lakeland Group, the local content partners for CRCC, Mr. Henry Djaba Jnr, who was mentioned in one of the reports described the comparison as unfair, arguing that there was no basis for comparing the differences in the costs of the projects considering the circumstances under which each contract was reached by each country.
Sources stated that the enemies of Amaechi were behind the saga and that “they are doing all within their power to ensure that they discredit Amaechi so that he would not be reappointed as a minister in the next dispensation, “but they will fail, Buhari knows those who are useful to his government and he would do the needful at the right time.”
Investigations revealed that the first difference between the cost of the Ghana rail construction cost and that of Nigeria was that the Lagos-Ibadan project is greenfield and a particularly challenging construction, whereas, the Ghana projects were part rehabilitation and part construction.
It was also revealed that the other differences were that the different funding arrangements have impacted the relative costs of the projects and the fact that the Nigerian project was an uncompleted project by the former Nigerian government was another factor.
It was however, revealed that the CRCC had offered to rehabilitate and construct a 560-kilometer standard gauge railway line in Ghana at $2 billion, whereas 340-kilometer standard gauge railway to be constructed by Ghanaian–European Railway Consortium (GERC) will cost $2.2 billion “as against what is being peddled by mischief makers.”
It was added that the Ministry of Transport in Nigeria would soon reveal the details of the project and “some other ones that were inherited from the last administration by the ministry so that the whole world would know who did what and when.”
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