Blade between his teeth…On Amaechi’s outrageous love for the Chinese

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Blade between his teeth…On Amaechi’s outrageous love for the Chinese

Blade between his teeth…On Amaechi’s outrageous love for the Chinese
July 16
23:04 2021

•Transportation minister favours Chinese contractors to local ones
•April 2021 – ‘I’m sick and tired of them’ – Amaechi on Chinese contractors
•July 2021 – Says: ‘I prefer them to Nigerian contractors’
•What changed?

Some leaders thrive on their power. But great leaders strive to empower; they do not feel power is absolute. Unlike Nigeria’s transportation minister, Rotimi Amaechi. Amaechi has beef with Nigerian contractors.

Just when they look up to him for a lifeline, he gives it to them with poison ivy lips and a razor blade between his teeth. The transport minister would rather fete and hobnob with Chinese contractors.

Recently, he delivered a blunt message to local construction companies who’ve long complained that they’re shut out of bids for the large infrastructure projects that often go to Chinese contractors, stating that: “We are not using our local contractors because they are not qualified. If you want to participate, build capacity. We can’t give you a life-threatening contract if we don’t trust your capacity.”

The minister went on to explain that in order to win a federal government building contract, a company must be able to demonstrate five years of experience in the relevant field, an obstacle that most Nigerian construction firms have struggled to overcome.

Yet contrary to his claims about Chinese companies, the latter hardly measure up to the lofty repute propagated about them by the transport minister. It would be recalled that he has persistently lamented the continuous delay by the China Civil Construction Company (CCECC) and its counterpart, TEAM Consortium, in delivering the ongoing 156km Lagos-Ibadan rail project.

Just recently, in April to be precise, the minister berated the contractors for the slow pace of work on the remaining stations.

Amaechi, who was on an inspection tour of work on the stations along the Lagos-Ibadan rail corridor, therefore, summoned the two companies to a roundtable meeting to answer questions over their failure to deliver the project.

Lamenting that the speed of work has reduced, he said, “We agreed with them that we will commission this April, but who will commission an uncompleted project.”

“For CCECC, I’m sick and tired of them and that is why I asked them to see us on Wednesday, although most of the things remaining are minor and it cannot delay the movement of goods. They have promised to finish by the end of the month; okay I believe them, but I want them to reiterate that” he added.

Besides, Amaechi noted that, “TEAM consultant firm has also complained that they (CCECC) don’t go by their work plan”, directing that, “For Ibadan-Kano, everybody must follow according to work plan both in terms of payment, construction, inspection, and everything.” According to him, the Ibadan-Kano rail project would be a different ball game as the plan must be followed.

It would be recalled that he made a similar complaint about the company’s lethargic and unprofessional disposition to work ethic in the last quarter of 2020.

Apparently, Amaechi got it wrong castigating local contractors in preference for the Chinese. Someday, perhaps, the transport minister would come clean about the nature of his fascination with Chinese contractors.

Nigerian construction companies are by no means alone in complaining about the advantages that are afforded to Chinese competitors. Politicians and local contractors in Namibia have expressed similar frustrations about the insurance and experience requirements that prevent local firms from bidding on projects.



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