FG’s planned railway concession may affect 15,000 workers, says union leader



The Nigeria Union of Railway Workers (NUR) had expressed fear that the planned concession of the railway system by the Federal Government could lead to loss of jobs of no fewer than 15,000 of its members.

Mr Saidu Garba, the President-General of the union, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday in Lagos that the concession “will also retard the economy instead of growth’’.

He, therefore, advised the Federal Government to reverse the planned concession so as not to worsen the nation’s economy.

According to him, privatisation policy has not brought any positive change to the economy from its inception.

“It is not good for government to continue falling into the same mistakes all the time.

“Some privatised government companies, bought by individuals, are not making progress up till date.

“NEPA and NITEL are good examples of failure of the privatisation policy in the country.

“Some of the privatised company still collect bailout funds from the government, which should not be so,’’ he said.

The union leader said that the proposed concession, if implemented, would affect over 15,000 work force of the Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC).

“We are appealing to the government to reverse its plan on the concession,’’ Garba said.

NAN, however, reports that the fear of NUR about job loss, if the railway is concessioned, was allayed by the Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi, in October, 2016 in Abuja.

Amaechi said at an International Transportation Conference in Abuja, where the idea of concessioning the railway was announced, that an American company, General Electric (GE) would take over the management of NRC under a concession plan.

According to him, the entrance of General Electric into the management of the NRC was to harness the full potential of rail transportation infrastructure.

The concession arrangement, billed to commence in the first quarter of 2017, Amaechi said, will also create additional new jobs.

He said that the Federal Government had full knowledge of the current hardship in the country but was determined to curb corruption at all levels while turning the economy around.

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1 Comment
  • real

    first of all concession is not the same as privatization. concession allows the government to still own the entity, yet a private more capable company operates it for them. And you can’t get a more capable company like GE to operate the railway for you. GE, can self fund its operation, they build trains, the educate engineers of railway, they have the software and technology, they have the complete capacity to effectively manage our railway system. Nigeria unions needs to start focusing on much more productive fight like ensuring that our budget is not filled with waste. we can’t continue to have government entities like the refineries, steel mills and railway that take up so much operating funds yet produce nothing.