The Federal Government has announced that works would commence on the construction of a standard gauge rail line from Lagos to Ibadan next month.
The project, which has been awarded to the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC), is being jointly funded by the Nigerian and Chinese governments. The project will gulp about $1.5bn (N458bn).
The Managing Director, Nigerian Railway Corporation, Mr. Fidet Okheria, who made this disclosure during the weekend said, the Federal Government has made its counterpart funds available, “the Chinese government promises by end of the month to release its counterpart funds. And the project should, therefore, start in the next one month.”
The Federal Government and the CCECC last year signed the contract for the construction of the Lagos-Ibadan and Calabar-Port Harcourt rail lines after the two parties agreed to cut down the total cost for the projects from $11.917bn to $11.117bn.
The new Lagos-Ibadan rail, spanning 156.65 kilometers, according to him is a double line, which is the first phase of a new Lagos-Kano standard gauge line.
The new line, when completed in 18 months, would coexist with the old narrow gauge rail line, Okheria said.
Okheria told Punch that the arrangements were being finalized to start the construction of the Lagos-Calabar and Kaduna-Kano rail lines.
The Minister of Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, who signed on behalf of the Federal Government, had said the cost reduction for the projects was achieved after the contract was renegotiated by both parties.
“The contract was awarded by the regime of former President Goodluck Jonathan for $11.917bn. When we took over at the ministry, we renegotiated with the CCECC and we succeeded in reducing the contract sum from $11.917bn to $11.117bn and we are able to save $800m after the renegotiation,” he had explained.
Amaechi also said the projects should be completed in two years, adding that the railways would be connected to the seaports.