The Federal Executive Council, FEC, on Wednesday approved N273 million for the feasibility study and design of Lots 4, 5 and 6 stations of the Abuja Rail Mass transit network.
The Council, which was chaired by President Goodluck Jonathan, gave the approval for the award of the contract following a memo brought by the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Bala Mohammed.
The Federal Government had in August released N10 billion for the completion of Abuja light rail project handled by China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation, CCECC, with an assurance that the project would be completed in 2015.
The project is also jointly financed by the Federal Government and China EXIM Bank through a loan of $500 million commenced in 2009 and has attained 52.7 per cent completion.
Briefing journalists after the meeting that lasted for one hour, Mr. Mohammed, alongside the Supervising Minister of Information, Nurudeen Mohammed, said the Abuja Rail Mass Transit system is designed primarily as a mover of people within and between the satellite towns and the different phases of the city.
Also, the Abuja rail system will be integrated with the planned national rail network.
Mr. Mohammed also said there is a provision of N280 million in the 2014 Abuja Statutory Appropriation for the project.
The minister noted that the feasibility study was important as it will ensure that previous practices where contracts are awarded on the basis of conceptual design are not repeated.
According to a working document of the FEC, the projects, upon completion, will reduce traffic congestion, shorten journey distances and reduce pressure on existing public transport services.
The project will also provide employment opportunities to about 5,000 skilled and unskilled workers while about 4,500 skilled workers will be engaged in the direct operation of the system on completion.
The council also approved the award of contract for the consultancy services for the feasibility study ad conceptual design in favour of Messrs Ladiom Associates in the sum of about N273 million with a completion period of 12 months.
Mr. Mohammed said Lot 4 will carry passengers from Kuje to Karshi, while Lot 5 will carry passengers from Kubwa to Bwari since there must be some provision for crisscrossing of passengers and commuters within the city; and then Lot six will carry passengers from the Airport to Kuje and Gwagwalada up to Dobe, a satellite town that is away from Gwagwalada.
“What we are about doing is to start building the stations, 13 in number that is going to be used by the passengers,” he said.