China Exim Bank to bankroll $1.79bn Abuja light rail

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From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja

The China Exim Bank will bankroll the $1.79 billion second phase of the Abuja Mass Transit Rail that will cover new areas in the capital city of Abuja.

The Abuja second phase mass transit rail is expected to pass through Area 10, Berger junction, Jabi Motor, Wuse Market, through to Life Camp to terminate at Gwagwa.

The Minister of Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Mohammed Bello. said this was part of the project approved by the Federal Executive Council meeting, presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari.

He told State House correspondents after the meeting that the rail project has been awarded to China Civil Engineering and Construction Company, (CCECC) at the cost of $1.79 billion. This is outside $1.5 billion (about N450 billion) counterpart funding secured from China earlier in the year by the Federal Government for the Lagos-Ibadan rail project set to commence in March.

The Minister also said council gave approval for the remaining part of Lot 1A (5.76km) which was in the first phase of the Abuja railway project in addition to approving the rolling stocks, workshop Equipment and a three-year management contract.

According to him, “Lot 3 has been completed and the entire tracks have been connected. Council also gave approval today for rolling stocks, that is the coaches that will be used on the system. Twelve sets will be procured for use on that line and that line of Lot 3 is going to start from the Abuja metro station through the national park station, Ring Road 3 station, Wuba station, Idu station, and finally terminates at the airport.

“The tracks have been laid, the extensions have been 90 percent completed. We only have a couple of them now underpainting that will be completed soon.

“We also have lot 1A which has been completed, that is the rail that goes from Idu, to Gwagwa station, Jibbi station and Bazango. We have realised the need to extend the rail from the Bazango station to Kubwa so it can carry the traffic coming. That extension is 5.7KM and we got council’s approval today”.

Council gave approval for the procurement of workshop equipment including three years management.

“You know rails require a lot of maintenance activities, all these are the benefits that we are enjoying because of our friendship with China,” Bello explained.

The FCT Minister also stated that the coaches is expected end of th year or early next year, adding that “the total number of Lots (coaches) coming in are 20 and each Lot has four coaches and each will move 690 passengers, so 10 of it will carry 6,990 passengers”.

Council also gave approval infrastructural development in Jahi District of the FCT as the cost of N19.473billion, in addition to a contract for the construction of a 5km road to link Ring Road III to Wasa Junction with Karshi -Ara-Apo Road at the sum of N2.454 billion.

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