The Abuja Light Rail will be completed May 2-15, the contractors say
The ongoing re-modelling of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, will be completed by December, the Nigerian Government said Thursday.
The Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, said during an inspection of the airport and the light rail projects executed by the Chinese Civil Engineering and Construction Company, CECCC, that with the level of progress so far recorded, the projects would be completed before the end of the year.
The contractors have however assured that the Abuja light rail project would be completed by May 2015.
The project is financed from a $500 million loan from the Chinese government for the reconstruction of the Lagos, Port Harcourt, Abuja and Kano airports.
The loan has a seven year moratorium; and interest payments totalling $113.9 million (about N18.23 billion), which re-payment started this month.
The minister said the two projects were among those prioritized by the Federal Government based on President Goodluck Jonathan’s directives.
Every support required to realize the completion of the projects, the minister said, would be given to the contractors.
According to her, by the time the airports’ projects were completed the facilities as well as service standards would have been raised to global best service delivery practices.
She said the purpose of the project tours was to enable the government and the Chinese Government to monitor how the money is being used because the government wanted Nigerians to see the result and the President has said the projects must be kept in focus month by month to make sure that the money is well utilised.
The minister said that based on the assurances from the contractors and from what she saw in the Abuja airport project, which is now 30 percent completed, she was optimistic that the December target set for its commissioning would be met.
“My impression is very good. The work is proceeding well, it is 30 per cent completion, but they are pushing. We have told the contractors that they must complete one out of the four, and they have said they would complete the one of Abuja by the end of the year for Mr. President to commission it,” the Minister said.
“The quality seems solid. The design looks good. So, we are really looking forward to a new terminal that looks like anyone when you step off the plane in any country. Nigerians will be very proud. I am quite excited because what I saw there is very promising.
At the Abuja light rail inspection point, the minister also commended the contractors for the quality of the job, pointing out however that she had expected that their commissioning by now.
She explained that having listened to the contractors on the phased implementation of the project, the May 2015 commissioning target date was reasonable.
The Chinese Ambassador in Nigeria, Gu Xiaojie, said he was happy to join the minister on the inspection tour to the project site and assured that CCECC was committed to completing the project timely and using the best of quality is ensured.
The envoy described the projects as a demonstration of the small way Chinese Government and companies were making contributions to the social and economic development of Nigeria.