Nigeria’s FEC approves N1.3 billion for rail network feasibility study

Seven rail corridors have already been completed.

The Federal Executive Council has approved a contract worth N1.3 billion for the feasibility study of standard rail gauge system along six rail corridors in the country.

This was disclosed by the Minister of Information, Labaran Maku, while briefing journalists after the weekly federal executive council meeting.

The FEC was presided over by President Goodluck Jonathan at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Mr. Maku noted that the rail corridors were identified under the 25 years strategic railway development policy of the federal government. He spoke alongside the Minister of Transport, Idris Umar, and the Minister of Trade and Industry, Olusegun Aganga.

The Transport Minister, explaining the awarded contract, noted that it included studies of the viability of the rail project and identification of business and economic activities along the selected corridors.

He said the feasibility study was also expected to involve identification of the rail stations along the route as well as come up with the environmental impact assessment. He added that the total length of the six rail lines will be 4430 kilometres and they would be completed within six months.

The corridors included Kano-Dai-Jimbia an approximate distance of 354km; Ilela-Sokoto-Jega-Kontagora, 408km; Aba-Ikot Ekpene-Itu-Uyo-Uduopkani-Calabar, covering a total distance of 340km; Kano-Nguru-Geshua-Damaturu-Maiduguri-Gamburu Ngala, covering 707km, Calabar-Ikom-Obudu-Ogoja-Katsina Ala-Wukari-Jalingo-Yola-Maiduguri,1669km.

The last of the corridor was the rail line from Port Harcourt-Aba-Umuahia-Enugu-Lafia-Jos- Bauchi-Biu-Maidiguri, 550km.

Mr. Umar noted that the seven corridors which were earlier awarded had been completed and contract would be awarded soon for the construction of a standard rail line.

The Transport Minister noted that the rail corridors were carefully selected to cover areas with strong economic potentials including mining, petro-chemicals, solid minerals deposits, agricultural zones, linkages to airports and state capitals across the country.

“We want to ensure that within the next 25 years government will put in more effort to ensure the development of areas through government funding and through public private partnership arrangements. The scope of work to be carried out by the consultants will include detailed studies for them to establish the viability of these projects, and bring out the technical, economic and financial models to establish the viability of the project.

“They are also to provide proposal for the alignment and connections of the urban and commercial settlements along the proposed routes. They are equally to carry out detail surveys and design of the selected alignments to identify potential train stations and other rail base infrastructure to incorporate them in the design.” he said.

Others include the environmental impact assessment and identify the rail stations, workshops and other rail base infrastructure along the route, including engineering design and the bill of engineering measurement and the tender document for the award of the contract in due course.

The Minister of Trade and Industry, also speaking at the briefing, announced that the United Nation’s Industrial Development Organisation, UNIDO, had established two regional offices in Nigeria and Ethiopia and placed the two countries under the accelerated intervention programme for industrial development.

The project, he said, was in recognition of the potentials and the industrial development efforts of the two countries in Africa. He explained that these were the two countries that show the strongest and the highest potentials for industrialization in Africa.

“Through this action, UNIDO has not only associated itself with the unparalleled and rapid transformation taking place in Nigeria, but has clearly endorsed Nigeria’s industrial revolution plan,” he said.

UNIDO has also established an investment and technology promotion office called ITPO in Nigeria to fast track Nigeria’s ability to attract industrial investment as well as support for the sector.

He disclosed that UNIDO has only eight of such offices throughout the world and this is in recognition of the potentials for industrial development in Africa.

According to him, “the two countries were identified by UNIDO as countries with the highest potentials for industrial development.”

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