The Minister of Transportation, Mr. Chibuike Amaechi, has hinted that the ongoing Western corridor rail line traversing nine states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), spanning a total of 1,402 kilometres, will be completed in the next 36 months as soon as the loan agreement is reached between Nigeria and China.
The minister in a statement by the Ministry yesterday made the disclosure at the Forum of China-Africa Transportation Convention in Beijing, China.
According to him,Â Â â€œThis rail line, which covers the Western corridor of Nigeria, traverses nine states of our federation and the FCT, and itâ€™s expected to be completed within three years if the expected loan agreement with China EXIM Bank for co-financing is reached as expected.â€
Speaking on the Lagos-Kano railway project awarded to China Civil Engineering and Construction Company (CCECC) and co-financed by China EXIM Bank, Amaechi revealed that the project would serve as an important distribution corridor between the major sea port of Lagos and the hinterlands, noting that the investment and partnership are imperative in the cooperation with China to strengthen Nigeriaâ€™s transport infrastructure, and contribute towards building a competitive economy.
Â artnering other private sector investors, foreign and domestic, including the consortium led by the United States General Electric.
The minister said: â€œThe successful realisation of these projects and their operations will result in attainment of high level of intermodal transport system.â€
The Ministry of Transportation recently signed the commercial contract for the remaining 901 Km Ibadan-Kano stretch and the associated branch lines from Oshogbo to Ado Ekiti, following the completion of the first segment of the Abuja-Kaduna railway project of 186.5Km
Amaechi said the completion of the Abuja-Kaduna project has tremendously improved citizenâ€™s mobility between the important Northern commercial city of Kaduna and Abuja. He said the project has been completed and commercial train operation had commenced since July 2016 conveying close to a million passengers.
While the construction of the second segment which is 162 Km Lagos-Ibadan double track rail lines is ongoing, Amaechi said the Nigerian Government and other African Governments have put effort at sourcing financiers for development of critical infrastructure especially its transport infrastructure-railways and ports.
â€œThe Nigerian Government has liberalised the transportation sector, therefore, admitting both private and institutional foreign and local investors to participate in the development and also develop legal framework and policies at reviving the railway sector,â€ he said.