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FG needs $656m to complete Lagos-Ibadan rail line – Amaechi

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The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, has said the Federal Government will require $656m to complete the Lagos-Ibadan railway standard gauge project.

Amaechi stated this while defending his ministry’s 2021 budget before the National Assembly Joint Committee on Land and Marine Transport.

The minister said the amount was needed to put in place additional infrastructure for the project to serve its intended purpose.

He also said that the Ibadan-Kano railway project required an injection of $645.3m as advance payment to enable the Federal Government to complete its loan signing agreement with the China Exim Bank.

Amaechi said, “Under the railway modern programme, I am happy to report that the construction of the Lagos-Ibadan Standard Gauge line has reached 92 per cent project completion.

“However, for the project to achieve full loan drawdown from our co-financier, China EXIM Bank, and attain practical completion for it to be used for the intended purpose, some aspects of work involving construction of upgraded railway stations, signalling and telecommunication system, power supply scheme and construction of pedestrian and overpass bridges have to be completed.

“This additional and extra work amounting to $656m which is to be financed 100 per cent by the Federal Government of Nigeria has been approved by the Federal Executive Council for implementation.

“Similarly, for the implementation of the Ibadan-Kano railway, which is the outstanding segment of the Lagos-Kano railway project, one of the conditions precedent to signing of the loan agreement is the release of advance payment in the sum of $864m, out of which government has released the sum of $218.7m, leaving a balance of $644.3m.”

According to him, the government planned to complete the fencing of the Abuja-Kaduna railway line for security purposes.

Amaechi stated that the Itakpe-Ajaokuta-Warri railway project, which was recently commissioned by the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd), still had an outstanding amount to be paid on the project.

He added that the ministry would commence the reconstruction and rehabilitation of the Port-Harcourt-Maiduguri (Eastern Narrow Gauge railways) next year.

The minister also said the construction of the central railway from Itakpe to Abuja and a 378km single track standard gauge rail line traversing Kano, Katsina and Jibiya with a 20km extension to Maradi in Niger Republic had been slated for next year.

Railway

Buhari flags off Kano-Kaduna rail construction, to link Tin Can Port

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Kano to get Nigeria’s biggest train station
President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday performed ground-breaking ceremony of 203.8km standard gauge Kano-Kaduna rail line, which he said would be linked with the Tin Can Island Port in Lagos.

A mega railway station is to be constructed at Zawachiki, Kano State, which will be the biggest train station in Nigeria.

Buhari said the railway station would be strategically located adjacent to the Dala Inland Dry Port in Kano.
The rail project is the third segment of the Lagos-Kano standard gauge railway modernisation project.
The first segment (Abuja-Kaduna) and the second segment (Lagos-Ibadan) were inaugurated for commercial operations in July 2016 and June 2021 respectively.
The President said his administration recognised rail transportation as a potent economic driver and as such, has accorded railway infrastructure development the greatest priority.
“The take-off of construction activities on this segment of Lagos-Kano vividly represents the commitment of this administration in the revival of the Nigerian railway system to reduce the deficiency in our transportation infrastructure and drive effective and more efficient transportation of passengers and freight within the country,” Buhari said.
“This project is crucial to the establishment of a supply chain in railway transport within its corridor, Kano-Kaduna-Abuja, as it links the major commercial cities of Kano and Kaduna to the federal capital territory, Abuja.
“This railway connection, when completed, will establish the ports in Lagos, as the choice for import and export business of the people of landlocked Niger Republic.
“This would positively drive our economies through employment from new business opportunities and wealth creation.
“The federal ministry of transportation and ministry of finance are working to engage co-financiers to conclude financial agreements for the development of the Ibadan-Kano line and further increase the bankability of the project.
“The railway line will be linked to the second port in Lagos, the Tin Can Island port. It is also expected that the dry inland port on these routes will be activated. The ports can now receive imports directly from the international market as ports of destination.”
In his remarks, Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, said, “The project will improve the standard of living within this corridor, create employment…we will not employ anything less than 20,000 workers on this route. It will also promote trade.
“In the long term, the railway will help decongest the Lagos port complex and increase efficiency and as well as further increase the viability of the inland dry port located in Ibadan, Kaduna and Kano.
“The Ibadan-Abuja (railway project) will link the seaports to Maradi, Niger Republic, which I believe will greatly boost trade between the two countries and foster economic development.”
Amaechi also hinted that the Federal Government would soon construct another railway that will link Sokoto-Kebbi-Zamfara to the national railway network.
“Currently, we are awaiting the national assembly for the approval of the loan facility to continue the work from Port-Harcourt to Maiduguri,” he added.
“The work traverses Port-Harcourt, Aba Umuahia, Enugu, Markurdi, Lafia, Jos, Kafanchan-Kaduna, Bauchi, Gombe, Damaturu, Gasua, and then Borno.”

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NUR excited about FG’s attention to railway, advises workers

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Nigeria Union of Railway Workers has expressed satisfaction and excitement at the attention being given to the Nigerian railways by the Federal Government.
It has urged its members to reciprocate the good gesture of the Federal Government on the development of the rail transport industry through diligence, punctuality and display of a high level of professionalism.
The union gave the advice preparatory to the ground-breaking ceremony of yet another standard gauge track construction project of Kano-Kaduna rail line tomorrow (Thursday).
Addressing the congress of the members of the union in Lagos, the Secretary General of the union, Segun Esan, urged the workers to show appreciation and gratitude to FG’s quest for an effective and efficient railway through various construction of standard gauge lines and equipping the industry for greater performance.
He particularly charged them on the need to protect the new and other railway facilities against theft and vandalisation.
Esan said, “The best we can do to express our profound appreciation to the Federal Government is to get committed to this work with passion and also protect the railway facilities from theft and vandalization as if it is our personal property are aware of what it takes to build a railway in terms of capital intensiveness of the development of the industry.
“This is why we must renew our enthusiasm and passion to make Nigerian people and the federal government proud by working with greater diligence and top-notch professionalism.”
He commended the administration of President Mohammadu Buhari for raising the ante by starting the construction of 190km Lagos-Ibadan (Moniya) track construction, completing it and commencing its full commercial operation.


‘’Nigerian railway workers take cognizance of the commendable feat achieved by this administration in starting the construction of Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge from the scratch and completing it and even starting the operation within its tenure. This is worthy development that has never happened in the country before.
“If all past Administrations have been this committed to the development of the railway industry, we would have had higher rail infrastructure base and greater market share of the passenger and freight presently taken by the road mode would have come to the railway and the road network would have been saved from constant dilapidation and pressure.
‘’We should recall that the spate of infrastructure development under this incumbent administration in terms of system transition from the narrow gauge railway system to standard gauge, no doubt, has been very tremendous, consistent, and way too unbelievably contrasting to what used to be the order of the day in the past when remedial approaches were explored to salvage the railway industry all to no avail.
“This administration owns the credit for the completion, upgrading, and operation of Warri-Itakpe standard gauge railway after being dug out from its complacent state spanning over 25 years and the completion/operation of Abuja – Kaduna railway which, as we stand, is the flagship of the Corporation. We have no excuse but to tap into the lofty vision and aspiration of the federal government for a better railway system by complementing its effort with a good attitude to work.”

Esan however appealed to the FG not to make the mistake made in the past whereby locomotive engines, coaches and wagons were purchased without adequate spare parts to repair and maintain the facilities bought.
He added that the welfare and salary regime of the railway workers should be reviewed with a view to using that as means to encourage and attract young and employable Nigerians to follow career paths in the system.

 

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FG still discussing with Standard Chartered over railway project loan – Amaechi

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The Federal Government is still discussing with the London-based Standard Chartered Bank to finance the Lagos-Calabar coastal rail project.
David Iyofor, media aide to the minister of transportation, confirmed this to TheCable in a text message on Monday.
Iyofor did not state the exact figure the government is planning to borrow from the London-based financial institution.
In June, Rotimi Amaechi, minister of transportation, hinted about the federal government’s move with Standard Chartered Plc to raise about $14.4 billion to fund two rail projects.
The Standard Chartered financing is expected to replace the borrowing plan from China for the construction of rail lines in the country.
In another report, Bloomberg had quoted Amaechi in an interview that Zainab Ahmed, minister of finance, budget and national planning, is “overseeing the talks with the emerging markets-focused financial institution about arranging the infrastructure loans.”
He had said the loan would make the country move away from China in some of the projects.
The federal government is currently seeking loans to execute several rail projects in the country. These include the Port Harcourt to Maiduguri, Lagos-Ibadan-Kano rail lines, and the Lagos-Calabar coastal rail project.
-TheCable

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