The Federal government has approved the request from the Ministry of Transportation to source for a huge sum of $2.3 billion loan to prosecute the Lagos-Calabar coastal railway project while taking the segment that starts from Port Harcourt-Warri to join the central line that goes to Abuja.
Minister of Transportation, Chibuike, Rotimi Amaechi, disclosed during his valedictory press briefing in Abuja, said that transverse Lagos, Delta, Anambra, Benin, Rivers, and Cross River state, with connections to the central line that goes to Abuja. However, the project will be executed in segments.
They are all part of the coastal rail line which is about $11.1 billion. Another segment will start from Benin-Onitsha, but as it gets to Onitsha, it will join central line again at Agbor
The railway project with the China Civil Engineering Construction Company (CCECC) was initiated by the Goodluck Jonathan administration. However, a fresh mandate was signed in July 2016 by Amaechi to commence construction at a cost of more than $11 billion.
According to the AECOM’s Coordinator for Country Infrastructure Development, Ibrahim Kuchi, the high-speed rail which was proposed for Nigeria’s coastal states corridor has the capability of cutting travel time by 11 hours from Lagos to Calabar by road to less than 3 hours by bullet train.
Witnessed in many developed countries, satisfactory transport infrastructure is a catalyst for economic growth and development. Thus, the strategically planned coastal railway, along with several other ongoing railway projects, is a major development based on the potential contributions towards achieving economic development in Nigeria.
Construction of railway line in coastal line will create jobs opportunities for Nigerians as well as catalyse economic activities by reassuring easier and more efficient transportation across the country. The Federal government will give a sovereign guarantee to enable them to get a quick loan. In turn, the contractor will give the Ministry of Transportation a performance guarantee. The performance guarantee means that since they have concessioned this project to the ministry after the completion, Ministry of Transportation will run the seaport and the rail line in such a way to pay back in 20, 30 or 40 years’ time, depending on the agreement reached.