• Friday, July 19, 2024
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BusinessDay

FG targets W/African markets with new rail lines to link Niger, Chad to Sudan

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Determined to take advantage of the business opportunities provided by the neighbouring landlocked countries in the West African region, the Federal Government is perfecting plans to commence the construction of a new rail line to link three neighbouring landlocked countries.

Speaking at the 12th Intermodal 2014 exhibition and conference, Idris Umar, minister of transport, said that the proposed rail line would link-up Kastina state to Maradi in Niger Republic, while another rail line would also connect Gamboru-Ngala from Maiduguri to link-up Njamena in Chad under the Port of Sudan rail project.

“The Federal Government is currently carrying out feasibility studies on the construction of these new rail lines,” he said.

According to the minster, this would go a long way to support the developmental needs of the listed landlocked countries in establishing sustainable transit transport system, especially in the construction, maintenance and improvement of the landlocked countries transport, storage and other transit related facilities.

“Through the Nigeria-Niger Joint Commission, efforts are being made to facilitate the transit of Niger Republic bound cargo through Nigerian seaports,” he explained.

The minister further noted that the transport ministry has drafted a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on how to facilitate the clearance of such transit goods in Nigerian seaports for the economic wellbeing of both Nigeria and the landlocked countries.

Umar, who noted that the rail project is to ensure that the nation’s intermodal transport system is of global best practices with active participation of the private investors to serve the increase in volume that would result from the bilateral trade relationship, added that the Federal Government is unflinchingly focusing on providing the enabling environment for massive private sector investments to thrive in the maritime sector.

Wadda Amaodu, head of transport, Africa Finance Corporation (AFC), who identified public private partnership as key to developing Nigeria’s transport system especially the integrated system, also said that the Federal Government needs to show strong commitment by creating enabling polices and legal framework that can attract investors.

“Policy backings to Public Private Partnership ventures should be transformed into enabling laws that can protect investors against arbitrary government actions”, suggested Wadda, who represented Oliver Andrew, director and chief coverage officer of AFC.

AMAKA ANAGOR