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Revealed: FG colluding with China to kill local content in construction sector?

Indications have emerged apparently showing that the Federal Government in the mad rush for Chinese consessioned loans have created undue window for China to rob indigenous contractors of jobs that ordinarily be done by Nigerians while Chinese execute their main contracts.

Otherwise, the Federal Government is now found to be breaching its own local content policy in the construction of over $20 billion rail tracks across the country, as indigenous firms are being excluded from the execution of the projects.

According to the local content on construction sector, it provides that 40 per cent of such projects should be executed by local contractors.

But the way and manner the federal government seems to have so much enmeshed itself in the entire Chinese infrastructure loan arrangement; chances of local operators retaining the provisional $8 billion in the total $20bn scheme do not exist.

By calculation, the $8 billion, equivalent of N2.416 trillion, is about one-third of Nigeria’s 2017 national budget, and can almost fund the entire Lagos-Kano standard gauge railway projects estimated at $8.3 billion.

Investigations by Business Hilights has already shown that over 98 per cent of all new and old rail scheme in Nigeria followed the same loan arrangement, thus meaning that local content in the sector is dead and that has further killed chances of local engineers growing in rail engineering.

The observed 98 per cent jobs already awarded to Chinese firms include: Kano State rail, $1.85 billion; Lagos Blue Line light rail, $1.2 billion; Lagos monorail, $1billion; and Abuja light rail, $841.64 million expected to be completed in October. Ogun and Oyo states are also working on some rail projects.

Industry observers who decry that Nigerians have the capacity to do most of the jobs, including laying of tracks, survey and design, say Chinese loans are never very good for economies that want to be self sustaining in future as all their business plans are closed ended and no room for any multiplier effect that can benefit host nations.

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