President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday commissioned the Kajola Wagon Assembly Plant in Ogun State with the capacity to produce 500 wagons.
According to the President, the plant will not only generate the needed employment but will boost the economy by developing local capacity in assembling and manufacturing Rolling Stock.
Represented by Mu’azu Jaji Sambo, the Minister of Transportation, the President said the project is in compliance with the Presidential Executive Order No. 5 that stipulates ‘companies’ involvement in infrastructure development within the country to ensure the transfer of technology to Nigeria.
He said it was in line with this Order that the Federal Ministry of Transportation in March 2018 signed an agreement with Messrs. China Civil Engineering Construction Company (CCECC) to facilitate the establishment of the plant with the Federal Government providing an enabling environment in terms of tax waivers, utilities such as power and water supply, access road and rail sidings among others.
The President said the plant will produce 500 wagons per year including open wagons, container flat wagons and box wagons, adding that the first set of wagons assembled in Nigeria will be rolled out for freight services.
“The advantage of setting up the plant is the potential to be provided by the ongoing rail projects in the country and sub-African Region which will generate significant demand for Nigerians Rolling Stock,” Buhari said.
He said the government is working to open the first University of Transportation in Daura, Katsina State to ensure an adequate turnout of graduates, technicians, artisans, and researchers in different areas of transportation especially railway transportation to guarantee the sustainability of the massive infrastructural provision.
Also speaking, Magdalene Ajani, the permanent secretary of the Federal Ministry of Transportation, said is one of the landmark legacies of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration designed to ensure the sustainability of railway development in the country.
Assuring that the Federal Ministry of Transportation will remain committed to full implementation of the Government’s Policy on Railway Modernisation and expansion of the transportation network, she said it will be done in an environmentally friendly system that engenders socio-economic development of the country.
Tolulope Odebiyi, the vice chairman of the Senate Committee on Marine Transport, said the former Governor of Ogun State, Ibikunle Amosu, should be lauded for ensuring that the assembly plant was built in the State.
Odebiyi said the establishment of the wagon plant would transfer knowledge required for the sustainability of the infrastructure.
On his part, Fidet Okhiria, the managing director of the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC), said it would serve as a source for the replacement of faulty wagons instead of sourcing them overseas.
Okhiria said some wagons had been delivered to NRC for trials and had been tested and confirmed as meeting international standards.