Business Hilights
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S’East, S’South worried on continued silence on revival of PH-Maiduguri rail line

More reactions have continued to trial ministerial briefings of Wednesday’s Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting especially in the areas of rail transport infrastructure upgrades.

Before now, there had been outcries on why the Federal Government unilaterally abandoned all forms of rail upgrade along the Port Harcourt-Aba-Enugu-Maiduguri rail corridor during the first terms of President Muhammadu Buhari administration from 2015 to 2019.

Business Hilights recalls that during one of its seatings before the recent Senate recess, lawmaker representing Abia South, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe at plenary called on the Federal Government and the Minister of Transportation in particular to remember and give same treatment it had been giving to the Lagos-Abeokuta-Ibadan-Kaduna-Abuja-Kano-Katsina rail corridor even before the controversial extension to Niger Republic.

He argued that whereas claims of insecurity may be adduced in parts of the North East for the rail redevelopment, it is important that form Port Harcourt to at least Enugu is given facelift after all.

However, in his briefing after Wednesday’s FEC meeting, the Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi, still maintained silence on the eastern rail corridor but disclosed that the Council approved the revised estimate for the rehabilitation of Itakpe/Ajaokuta rail line.

According to him, “The contract was awarded for $122m but we requested for a total of $56m additional work, which was broken into $38.8m additional work and $17.2m variation, bringing the contract of Itakpe to Warri to a total of $178.7m.

“Then we also requested for Lagos to Ibadan with extension to Lagos port complex in Apapa; we asked for additional work for $374m with another variation of $282m, which totalled to $656.8m.

“This will be added to $1.5bn that the contract was initially awarded,” Amaechi concluded.