Nigeria: FG Threatens to Sanction Chinese Firm Over Slow Pace of Rail Project

The federal government has threatened to mete out a stiff sanction to the China Civil Engineering and Construction Company (CCECC) over the firm’s alleged failure to provide 85 per cent counterpart fund for the the rail project in some parts of the country.

The Minister of Transportation, Muazu Sambo, decried the slow pace of work in the Kanu-Kaduna and Port Harcourt-Maiduguri rail lines.

Sambo gave the warning on Saturday while briefing journalists in Lagos at the end of a tour of the Lekki Deep Seaport to ascertain the level of work done so far.

Sambo, who frowned at the attitude of the Chinese firm, said two years after the agreement was signed, CCECC had not provided any of its 85 per cent counterpart fund for the rail project.

According to him, the agreement stipulates that CCECC is to provide 85 per cent of the project cost while the federal government provides the remaining 15 per cent.

He said, “I have given them till October 2022 to fulfill their own part of the agreement or stiff sanction would be meted out to them.

“How could it be said that two years after the agreement was signed, CCECC is yet to provide a dollar?”

Recall that former Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, had in March accused the firm of playing politics with the Kanu-Kaduna rail project, urging the contractor to provide funding for the project.

Amaechi had said, “The pace is extremely slow, the equipments are supposed to be 2,000 plus, but what they (CCECC) have brought so far is 541, they claim that 300 and something equipment are in Kaduna. I will send people to check. Even if you add that all together, you will have 800 and something equipment in place of 2,000 equipment that they are supposed to bring. That means something is wrong somewhere.

“I know they (CCECC) claim that there is no money, that we have not funded them. But what of their responsibility in the contract that they will look for the money?

“CCECC has not brought money, the Chinese are no longer giving us money for more than three to four years now. So CCECC can’t afford to delay in their responsibility to look for money for the project. That is what the Chinese must do.”

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