Delayed Senate approval for $1.5bn loan holding back Lagos-Ibadan rail scheme
Had it been that the recent approval by the National Assembly for the government to go ahead and borrow $1.5bn for the delivery of the Lagos-Ibadan railway scheme, work would have gone far by now.
This was the inference that can be drawn from the recent comment of the Managing Director of Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC), Mr. Fidet Okheria, who spoke on the fresh land acquisition for additional Right of Way (RoW) for the rail scheme on the highway.
Okheria noted that the fresh land acquisition is to make way for future expansion after some years of the standard gauge rail and informed the decision to halt the ongoing building by the Ogun State Government of a flyover bridge at Ijoko, under which the new track will pass.
He said “The NRC team, consisting of mainly engineers, and that of the Ogun State Government have met on the issue and agreed on the need to stop work on the bridge so that the bridge can be raised in order to accommodate future developments”.
Continuing, he said land clearing, he added, had commenced in earnest along the old track, with the demolition of shanties and illegal structures in preparation for the construction proper.
Business Hilights recalls that work ought to have started about five months ago but for the delay in the approval for the loan on the $1.5bn (N458bn) rail project.
The project, awarded to the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC), is being jointly funded by the Nigerian and Chinese governments who by virtue of the loan agreement will be the lead contractor.
According to the delivery specification, the railway which is designed to span for about 156.65 kilometres, is coming with double track line, the first phase of a new Lagos-Kano standard gauge line, is expected to be completed in 18 months.