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Amaechi advocates for Political supports to sustain transport sector

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Amaechi advocates for Political supports to sustain transport sector
The Federal Government Friday said it is about to commence the construction of four new rail line projects-Ibadan to Kano, Port-Harcourt to Maiduguri, Kano to Maradi, and Lagos to Calabar rail lines.

The Minister of Transportation, Hon. Rotimi Amaechi, disclosed this at the 2020 edition of Annual Ministerial Press Briefing on landmark programmes, projects , activities and achievements of the ministry and its agencies in Abuja.

According to Amaechi, contracts for the projects have been awarded with funds already obtained funds for some of the projects.

The Minister noted that the sustainability of achievements recorded in the Transportation Sector is actually dependent on continued political support through approval of Sectoral Policies, timely Passage of Reform Bills and more funding for the completion of all on-going development programmes, projects and Initiatives in all the subsectors under the purview of the Ministry.

“The ones we are about to start are Ibadan-Kano, that, we are waiting for fund from China, Port Harcourt-Maiduguri, we have a bit of the fund, but we are waiting for the cabinet to approve. We are also about to start Kano-Maradi, and Lagos-Calabar rail lines. But, one thing that is unique in all these projects is that the President early enough in his government directed that all rail lines must terminate at the Seaports. There is a bit of adjustments in the pricing because we had to adjust Kano-Maradi to link up to kano-Lagos so that it will terminate at Lagos seaport. The Port Harcourt-Maiduguri is not only terminating at Port Harcourt seaport, it is going from Port Harcourt seaport to Bonny, where are building a deep seaport.

” I trust that we will continue to enjoy the support from the Executive Arm, the National Assembly, the Judiciary and indeed all Nigerians. On our part, we pledge to remain professional, efficient and accountable in order to ensure that our national transportation objectives are realized,” assured the Amaechi.

Amaechi also hinted that the 185.5km Lagos-Ibadan double standard guage line which was extended to Apapa seaport was nearing completion, while the 186km Abuja-Kaduna and 302km Warri-Itakpe standard guage lines had been completed and were functional.

The minister also noted that the Itakpe-Warri rail line has influenced a drastic reduction in cost of transportation on that axis.

Speaking on why the eastern rail line reconstruction is narrow gauge, Amaechi said, ” Economic considerations informed the decision to settle for narrow gauge for the reconstruction of the Eastern Rail line, from Port Harcourt to Maiduguri.

“Some people may say why did you have to build narrow gauge for the Eastern line, simple, the answer is we had two approvals, the two approvals are as follows: we have a standard gauge approval that is between $11 to $14 billion for Port Harcourt with the same alignment, no changes, but it is costlier.”

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