BusinessDay

FG needs $40 billion to connect states by rail

The Federal Government has said that an estimated $40 billion will be required, to connect the states of the federation by railway.

Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, made the disclosure during last inspection tour of the Lagos-Ibadan Standard Gauge Rail corridor.

Amaechi, who expressed satisfaction with the pace of work on the multi billion naira project, said a total of 102 kilometres have so far been covered.

According to the minister who was accompanied by Joe Gharthey, Ghana’s Minister of Rail Management who was in Nigeria to understudy the Lagos-Ibadan SGR model with plans of replicating same in Ghana stated that, the project would have advanced to 109 kilometres, by April, even as he assured that barring any last minute hitch, that the Presidential ride on the Lagos-Ibadan rail, will happen will hold in May.

“The Presidential ride could take place by the end of May but it is beyond just having a ride because by the end of May, they should have finished laying tracks but they have to start building the stations, constructing the communication because we will be dealing with more than one train”, Amaechi said.

According to the minister: “We have been able to make progress to kilometre 102 and the Chinese Civil Engineering & Construction Corporation (CCECC) have assured us that by April 8th, they would have gotten to kilometre (DK) 109, Amaechi said.

“Kilometre 110 is where we are having soil challenges. We need to replace the soil and they also said replacement of soil is also needed in kilometre 116 to 119. Those challenges are as a result of poor geological survey and the survey revealed to us that the background water in those areas is very high. So that is what we are doing”.

According to the minister, “I am very impressed with the level of work needed. The challenges we are confronted with presently is a matter of time and that is because we are close to rainy season and we need to deal with them before the rains because if the background water is high now, imagine how it will be when the rains starts. So, they have to find solution to it before the rain.”

In the meantime, the minister has said that the Federal Government may approach Ghana for negotiation, in her determination to complete work on the proposed Lagos – Kano rail line, even as he spoke on plans to link states by rail.

That, perhaps, informed the presence of the Ghanaian Minister for Railway Development.

“We are trying to go to Ghana for negotiation. Ghana is just starting. They are here because in two to three month’s time, they will start 100 kilometres of railway. Lagos to Ibadan is 156km and we have the same contractor. So, they want to see what we are doing and how we are going about it so that they will know what to do. We have the same consultants, contractor and same funding from China Exim bank”. The minister stated.

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