OPS sees Kano-Maradi rail line reducing cost of transportation of goods btw Nigeria and Niger
Members of the Organised Private Sector (OPS) in Kano, are optimistic that the Kano-Maradi rail line project being undertaken by the Federal Government, will scale down the cost of transportation of goods and services between Nigeria and Niger Republic.
The Federal Government signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Mota-Engil Group, in respect of the acquisition of the right of way towards the commencement of technical design of the Kano-Maradi Standard Gauge railway line.
The MOU was signed on Monday by Rotimi Amaechi, Nigeria’s minister of transportation, with the management of the Mota-Engil Group, one of Portugal biggest railway building companies.
The rail line which is estimated to cost the Federal Government about $2 billion is designed to connect Kano, Nigeria`s second most active business centre, via Katsina to Maradi, one of the provinces in Niger Republic that has historic cultural and business links with most of the states in the Northern part of the country.
Ali Madugu, a member of the OPS and managing director of Dala Foods Nigeria Limited, speaking with Businessday in Kano, said the railway line on completion would connect people and businesses situated on the Lagos -Kano-jigawaKatsina-Maradi corridor.
“I will like to let you know that members of the organised private sector in Kano, are excited about the historic signing of the MOU by the minister of transportation with the management of the MotaEngil Group, which we believe is a step forward towards the actualisation of the much anticipated Kano-Maradi Railway connection.
“We are happy because this project is going to have a tremendous impact on the ease of doing business in the state, and other areas it will be connecting. The impact will be visible in the reduction of the cost of transporting goods and finished products between Nigeria and Niger Republic.
“For a long time, businesses here (Kano), particularly manufacturers involved in the import of raw materials as well as exportation of finished products have been complaining about the extra cost that we have to bear moving containers from Lagos to the hinterland. With rail line in place, this is definitely going to ease off the burden”, he observed.
Madugu, who is the national vice president of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), however, urged the Federal Government to extend the rail line to commercial towns such as Kaura Namoda, in Zamfara State, which is already connected to a narrow Gauge Line, back to Zaria which implies that the entire north is connected by rail.
“From what we know, the Kano-maradi rail line is part of the West Africa Railway Master Plan which ECOWAS is pursuing. The ECOWAS `s project planned to connect Burkina Faso to the capital of Niger Republic and this will be connected to Maradi and Nigeria.
“This project from an economic point of view is good for the country and the entire sub-region and one needs to commend the Federal Government for signing the MOU geared to actualising it,” said Madugu.
The minister of transportation, in a statement issued by Eric Ojiekwe, director press and public relations of the ministry, after signing the document on Monday, said the project was aimed at linking the whole country by rail.
Amaechi signed the MOU on behalf of the Federal Government, while Antonio Gvoea, managing director of MotaEngil, signed on behalf of the contracting firm.
According to the minister, the new railway corridor which is to be located in northern Nigeria will run through Kano, Jigawa, and Katsina and through the Niger Republic territory as far as Maradi. He added that other cities- Danbatta in Kano State, Kazaure in Jigawa State, and Daura, Mashi, as well as Jibiya all in Katsina State would also be covered by the rail line.