Rail Contract: Senate Begins Probe of Amaechi
The Senate on Tuesday began a probe into the concession of the Easter and Western Rail Lines to General Electric, a United States company, without following due process, Punch reports.
The lawmakers made the move following a motion moved by Senator Bassey Albert (Akwa-Ibom North-East), titled, ‘Urgent Need to Investigate the Granting of Concession of the Western (Lagos-Kano) and Eastern (Port Harcourt-Maiduguri) Rail Lines to General Electric, a US Company.’
“The Senate is convinced that the Ministry of Transport has violated the provisions of the Public Enterprises (Privatisation and Commercialisation) Act 1999 by unilaterally engaging the General Electric for the concession of the Western (Lagos-Kano) and Eastern (Port Harcourt-Maiduguri) rail lines as evident from the above facts,” he stated while moving the motion.
Albert recalled the Senate noted that the Public Enterprises (Privatisation and Commercialisation) Act 1999 established the National Council on Privatisation and the Bureau of Public Enterprise for the purpose of privatisation of public enterprises.
He noted that the BPE and the Nigeria Infrastructure Advisory Facility, upon the approval of the NCP in April 2015, developed a road map for the concession of the Western (Lagos-Kano) and Eastern (Port Harcourt-Maiduguri) rail lines, “despite the fact that the Nigerian Railway Corporation Act did not envisage a concession of the corporation until recently amended.”
The lawmaker said the Senate was aware that the BPE had already engaged the Global Infrastructure Facility and the World Bank in discussions on accessing funding for Transactions Advisers, while the Ministry of Transport had formally appointed Africa Finance Corporation and Greenwich as financial advisers for the same purpose.
Albert added, “The Senate is further aware that in August, 2016, Vice President Yemi Osinbaio inaugurated the steering committee and technical committees in line with the provisions of Section 11 (K) of the Public Enterprises (Privatisation and Commercialisation) Act 1999 to fast track the process of concession of the rail lines.
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