By Dirisu Yakubu – Abuja
Transport Minister Rotimi Amaechi has said that the Itakpe-Lokoja-Abuja railway project, which will connect the new Warri port, will start in 2021.
Amaechi, who affirmed this, said at the Defense of the 2021 Budget in Abuja, said that the government led by President Muhammadu Buhari is committed to connecting different parts of the country with rail, to ease the burden of transportation.
The minister added that the reconstruction and rehabilitation of the narrow-gauge Port Harcourt-Maiduguri Eastern, the deep-water port in Bonny and the Port Harcourt railway industrial park are also part of the project for next year.
“The reconstruction and rehabilitation of the Port Harcourt-Maiduguri Eastern narrow gauge railway, the construction of new branches and transshipment centers for the future railway development that connects with this corridor is very important.
“This project is also integrated with a deepwater port in Bonny and a railway industrial park in Port Harcourt, which are being developed through direct investment from China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation, CCECC in association with Chinese financiers.”
The standard gauge railway line that crosses Kano-Katsina-Jibiya with an extension of 20 km to the commercial border city of Maradi in the Republic of Niger, are projects proposed for 2021. “
Amaechi also said that additional works have begun in the Lagos-Ibadan corridor, for an amount of $ 656 (financed by the federal government).
According to him, additional works include the construction of upgraded railway stations, signaling and telecommunications system, power supply scheme, and construction of pedestrian bridges and flyovers.
“These additional and extra works worth $ 656 million that will be financed 100 percent by the federal government have been approved by the Federal Executive Council for their implementation.
“The project contractor, Messrs. CCECC Nigeria Limited, following the ministry’s instructions, has started work and has reached an advanced stage. Therefore, in order not to anticipate the progress of the implementation, an adequate fund must be provided in the 2021 budget proposal to facilitate the completion of the project, ”he added.
Amaechi further said that for the implementation of the Ibadan-Kano railway project, one of the conditions precedent to the signing of the loan contract is to release an advance of $ 864 million, and said that the government has so far made a partial payment of $ 218.7 million.