Senate fingers abuse of due process in Amaechi’s rail concession deal with GE
The Senate has commenced investigation into the concession of Eastern and Western rail lines to General Electric (GE). The agreement was signed between the Ministry of Transportation and GE.
According to the Senate, the contract entered into with the United States Company did not follow due process.
Senator Bassey Albert, in moving the motion entitled: ‘urgent need to investigate the granting of concession of the western (Lagos-Kano) and Eastern (Port Harcourt-Maiduguri) rail lines to General Electric, said: “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”.
The Senator noted that the Public Enterprises (Privatisation and Commercialisation) Act, 1999 established the National Council on Privatisation and the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPP) for the purpose of privatisation of public enterprises and not any Ministry.
It would be recalled that on August 12, 2016, the Vice President of Federal Republic of Nigeria announced that the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), in collaboration with Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC), established the Project Steering Committee (PSC) to be headed by the Hon. Minister of Transport, Chief Rotimi Amaechi and Project Delivery Team (PDT) for the concession of the Nigerian Railway Corporation.
It is also worthy of note that the said Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) had already engaged the Global Infrastructure Facility (GIF) and World Bank in discussions on accessing funding for Transaction Advisers (TA) while a task force headed by the Hon. Minister of Finance had been constituted as far back as April 2016, to drive the concession process.
The key disturbance that may have prompted the Senate interest may not be unconnected with the bidding process which followers say was not made public before General Electric was picked as the concessionaire by the Federal Government.
Currently, the speed and secret nature of the whole process has raised palpable fears among workers of the Nigeria Railways Corporation (NRC).