The Minister of Transport, Ahmed Alkali has expressed the optimism about the progress of the $2 billion Niger Republic standard gauge rail project, affirming that it is on track for completion in 2025.
Speaking to reporters during an inspection of the project in Dadin Kowa, Kazaure Local Government Area of Jigawa, Alkali underscored the significance of the rail line in bolstering the economies of both Nigeria and Niger.
“We are fully committed to ensuring the timely completion of the ongoing Kano – Jigawa – Maradi rail line project, aimed at boosting the economy of Nigeria and Niger Republic,” the minister stated.
He also emphasized the government’s dedication to address financial considerations, even if it requires shared sacrifice with the contractors involved in the project.
The minister, who traveled by road from Kano to Daura, expressed satisfaction with the work accomplished so far. He mentioned that the project, which commenced in Kano and spans through Jigawa and Katsina States, ultimately culminates in Maradi, Niger Republic.
“The $2 billion project, awarded during the tenure of former President Muhammadu Buhari, is expected to meet its 2025 completion target. Earthwork for the project has reached an 80 percent completion stage, with actual rail line work set to commence after the earthwork phase,” Mr. Alkali explained.
He lauded the progress made, affirming that the contractors are meeting the project’s specifications.
The minister expressed confidence that the major aspects of the project had been successfully executed, and there is a high likelihood of meeting the set completion target.
Regarding potential cost revisions due to current high production costs, Mr. Alkali encouraged the contractor to make necessary concessions to support the nation’s development under the leadership of the Tinubu-led administration.
Vladislav Bystrenko, the Lead Contractor, disclosed that the contract’s initial value was $1.95 billion, with contractual obligations signed around 2021 with the Federal Government. He highlighted their commitment to the project’s timely completion and praised the government’s dedication.
During his visit to Daura, the minister also inspected the Muhammadu Buhari University of Transportation, where the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Adam Umar, announced plans to commence admissions in October.