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Without paying counterpart N9bn, FG to inaugurate completed Abuja light rail today

The Federal Government will today in Abuja, inaugurate Abuja Light Rail for commercial services.

However, the lead contractor, China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) on Wednesday in an interview revealed that government has not provided its N9 billion counterpart funding for the project.

It was not however, clear on the kind of understanding reached between the government and the Chinese conglomerate to deliver the scheme without government’s financial involvement.

CCECC noted that the project, which began in May 2007, was challenged by inconsistent funding.

According to the CCECC Managing Director, Jack Li, “The 45.245km standard gauge rail line, which runs between the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport and the Abuja Metro Station, is said to be the first of its kind in West Africa.

Li revealed further that it was fully funded with the $500m loan advanced by the China EXIM Bank, saying “The counterpart funding of N9bn from the government has not been paid; inconsistent funding is a major challenge to the effective execution of the project.

“The Federal Capital Territory Administration decided to implement the project in phases; phase one of the project includes Lots 1A and 3, with a total length of 45.2 kilometres.”

He assured that about 12 diesel multipurpose units, each with four coaches, would soon be brought in and added to the existing ones, adding that the down payment had not been finalised.

While hinting that the rail would drastically improve the transport system in the FCT, he disclosed that satellite residents would enjoy safer and cheaper travels from Thursday (today).