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Buhari inaugurates $823.5m light rail project

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Buhari inaugurates $823.5m light rail project
  • FCT earmarks $194m for coaches, maintenance

President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday inaugurated the long awaited Phase 1 of the Abuja Rail Mass Transit Project (ARMTP), executed at the cost of $823,540,545.87. Also, the Federal Capital Territory Administration FCTA) is set to get an infrastructure soft loan agreement from Exim Bank of China for the supply of the remaining coaches, including their maintenance for three years at a cost of $194,008,602.43. While the Bank is expected to fund the project to the tune of $157,001,049.89 (85%), FCTA would bring in a counterpart fund of $37,007,552.54 (15%).The President, who expressed the hope that the remaining phases of the project would be completed, said that his administration had shown enough commitment to infrastructural development in the country. Buhari, who noted that “transportation is the life wire of any city”, also reassured Nigerians that Federal Government’s delegation to China will work out the desired result in the procurements of the main rolling stock.

He said: “This accomplishment clearly demonstrates our commitment to addressing critical infrastructural projects and keeping with the ideals of the Change Agenda to ensure prudence in the management of public resources and value for money, considering the huge investments in this project. “Transportation is the live wire of any city. I am very optimistic that a modern rail service would bring about a boost to the FCT economy and greatly enhance social life. I am aware that what we have on ground today are coaches meant to provide skeletal services as we await the main set of the rolling stock for full operations.

“I have been briefed on the outcome of the Ministers of FCT and Finance’s recent visit to China, during which the MOUs and agreements for the procurements of the main rolling stock were signed. May I, therefore, assure Nigerians of Federal Government’s continued support for all the negotiations towards the realization of the Abuja Light Rail system,” he added. The FCT Minister, Mallam Muhammad Musa Bello, reassured that after taking delivery of three coaches for a take-off of the light rail project, his administration was working towards procuring the remaining rolling stock of 48 coaches still being expected. He said that his administration was working to perfect the MoU it signed with the Exim Bank of China for the procurements of more of the coaches and its maintenance.

“The FCTA has also taken delivery of the three coaches meant for initial operations while awaiting the arrival of the rolling stock of 48 coaches. To this effect, the FCTA has concluded an infrastructure soft loan agreement with Exim Bank of China for the supply of the remaining coaches, including their maintenance for three years at a cost of $194,008,602.43. The Bank would fund the project to the tune of $157,001,049.89 (85%), while the FCTA would bring in a counterpart fund of $37,007,552.54 (15%),” the minister said. Bello explained that the completed Phase 1 of the project consists of Lot 1A & 3 with a total length of 45.3 kilometres, and that it starts at Idu lndustrial Zone via Gwagwa-Diedie and terminates at Gbazango Station in Kubwa (18km). Both Lots connect at the Idu Station to enable easy passenger transfer with the National Rail line linking Kaduna and Abuja. The Minister of State, Aviation, Mr. Hadi Sirika, and Bello led the tour at Idu Rail Station and Abuja airport. The Abuja Rail Mass Transit is the first mass transit project in Nigeria as well as in West Africa.

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