In line with the federal government’s resolve to involve indigenous contractors in the process of revamping the local railway sector, the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) yesterday opened bidding for over 1000 indigenous companies that submitted applications for various railway contracts in the 2018 fiscal year.

These contractors were unveiled on Wednesday during a prequalification/bid opening session held at the NRC head office in Ebute Metta, Lagos.

The process was coordinated by the Director of Procurement at the NRC, Mr Ben Iloanusi, who spoke with journalists in Lagos shortly before a public presentation of the list of contractors.

According to a report from the Budget Office of the Federation, N12.4bn has been allocated to the NRC for capital projects in 2018, out of a total of N251.42bn appropriated for the Ministry of Transportation in the fiscal year.

Iloanusi said the 1,000 contractors were bidding to secure projects in 12 different categories as advertised by the corporation on Monday July 23, 2018.

Some of the project categories were given as procurement of tools, equipment and materials for emergency repairs and maintenance of tracks; emergency repair and maintenance of tracks, bridges and culverts; renovation/upgrade of railway stations; and facility management.

Others involve project management consultancy service; training service/capacity building/development; rehabilitation of locomotives, coaches and wagons, railway inspection vehicles and cranes; as well as procurement of rolling stock consumables (lubricants) and spare parts.

Iloanusi said Wednesday’s opening of the applications/bids was part of the prequalification process to determine those that would eventually be eligible to bid for railway contracts.

“The process will determine the number of contractors that will be prequalified for each category,” he said.

According to him, the whole process of prequalification of contractors for the railway projects will be completed in October this year, when each applicant is expected to have received a notification on whether they are successful or not.

Iloanusi also said award of contracts for the different categories would depend on the release of funds by the appropriate office.

When reminded that by October, the year would have entered into the fourth quarter, the NRC director hinted that the award of contracts/ execution of some of the projects might extend to 2019.

According to him, the qualified contractors would still have to bid for each project under their approved categories whenever the contracts and money for the execution were made available.

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