• Wednesday, June 19, 2024
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BusinessDay

Tinubu vows to complete Lagos-Ibadan-Abuja rail project

President Tinubu appoints Chargé d’affaires and Consuls General for 14 foreign embassies

…China rail attracts $3bn investment

…Employs 4000 Nigerians

President Bola Tinubu has vowed to ensure the successful execution of the Lagos-Ibadan-Abuja rail project to ease mass movement across the country.

This is just as he also assured that Nigeria would continue to remain a safe hub for investments, as his Administration would always provide the needed support to ensure that businesses thrive in the country.

The president gave the assurance when he received a delegation led by Dai Hegen, Chairman of the China Railway Construction Corporation (CRCC), at the State House on Friday, President Tinubu assured the Chinese business executives that their investments in Nigeria are safe and that his Government would further strengthen the business environment.

The project which was started by former President Muhammadu Buhari, consists of 1,343 kilometres (835 miles) long, standard gauge rail line, that is expected to terminate in Kano.

Although the Lagos -Ibadan end as well as the Abuja to Kaduna axis of the project has since been completed and are operational, the Ibadan -Abuja, as well as Kaduna-Kano end are yet to take off.

Once completed, the railway will connect the port city of Lagos to Kano, near the border with Niger, passing through the national capital of Abuja.

The project is expected to replace the Cape gauge Western Line built by the British in 1896–1927, which has a lower design capacity and is in a deteriorated condition.

The president told the Chinese rail experts that ” We will do everything required to ensure that the rail link between the Ibadan end of the Lagos-Ibadan railway and the Federal Capital Territory is completed. We must connect the hinterland with our coastal seaports.

“I am proud of what I started as Governor of Lagos State with the Lekki Free Trade Zone. It is now a flourishing environment. It is important to give you the assurance that we will do well to strengthen our partnership and relations.”

The president stated that his Administration welcomes the opportunity to expand business collaboration with the company, as well as upgrade critical infrastructure and facilities for the mutual benefit of both parties.

“I have listened to you carefully. Your operation is consistent with our objectives. We are reforming the economy and taking crucial actions to ensure accelerated growth. The CRCC, with its subsidiary, CCECC, is a leading company and one of the best partners to work with. I am happy that you are partnering Nigeria in so many areas, particularly in rail construction.

President Tinubu commended the corporation, particularly its subsidiary, China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC), headquartered in Beijing, for its efforts in delivering value on infrastructural projects in the country.

He also urged the corporation to also explore other avenues of cooperation, especially in solid minerals, adding: “The door is open for partnership, and partnership that will add value to both sides. Solid minerals development is the next frontier for mutually-beneficial growth and collaboration.

“We need each other. The sustainable path to success is a two-way street. We assure you that your investment is safe in our country. Once you succeed here, I know your reputation in other countries will be further strengthened.”

In his remarks, the Chairman of the China Railway Construction Corporation highlighted some of the projects in the works and those completed by the corporation.

“In the railway construction sector, the Kano-Kaduna Railway is 39 percent completed and is on course for completion in the second quarter of 2026. The Abuja-Kaduna Railway and Lagos-Ibadan Railway have carried approximately 9 million passengers since they were completed and commissioned. Freight services have officially commenced along Lagos-Ibadan axis since September 2023, and a total 180,000 tons of cargo have been transported,” he said.

Hegen, the Chairman of the China Railway Construction Corporation also said the Corporation had signed investment cooperation agreements with 119 companies, stimulating investments of $3 billion, and creating 4,000 direct jobs for Nigerians, as well as paying $125 million in taxes.

He extended the invitation of the Chinese Government to President Tinubu to attend the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) to further deepen cooperation along mutual areas of interest.

“With the support of Your Excellency, we plan to increase our investments in key areas, such as agriculture, power, solid minerals, natural gas, and renewable energy technologies to promote the economic development of the country,” the CRCC Chairman added.