Abuja (Moov Logistics News) – Nigerian’s president, Muhammadu Buhari, this morning in a nationwide broadcast to herald the new year outlined his government’s broad plan to tackle what in his words are the country’s “huge infrastructural deficit.”
“We are going to make significant in-roads in advancing road, rail and power projects across the country,” the president said.
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“The Ministry of Power, Works and Housing is one of the drivers of this Government’s commitment to renew and increase Nigeria’s stock of infrastructure in order to achieve global economic competitiveness as targeted under the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan.”
According to the president, his government’s focus on this infrastructural development will be on expansion and creation of new rail lines, massive road construction and strengthening of the generation and distribution of electricity.
He promised that the already begun Lagos-Kano Standard Gauge Railway, “should reach Ibadan from Lagos by the end of 2019 and will carry two million passengers per year and five million tons of cargo will be transported every year giving a substantial boost to the country’s economy.”
A source told MLN that the president’s infrastructure development shopping list sounded more like campaign rhetorics considering his rumoured interest in standing for re-election in 2019. The source pointed at his clear and definite timing of the starting and completion of some projects already planned and budgeted for, while he glossed over how the bulk of the projects would be carried out.
“Construction of the Kano – Kaduna segment is expected to commence this year and reach Kaduna by the end of 2019. By the end of 2021, the two ends will be joined so that we will have standard gauge railway across the main North-South trading route.
“The Abuja – Kaduna route will be boosted by additional rolling stock next Thursday and will be able to handle one million commuters annually.“
Also sure to be completed quickly is the Abuja Capital Light Rail, which the administration inherited when it was at 64% completion when it assumed office but has now reached 98% completion. “Only test runs remain before start of operations,” the president said.
“This train service will stimulate economic activities in the Federal Capital and provide residents with an efficient and safe transportation system. Twelve railway sub-stations around the capital over a 45.2-kilometre route will serve as a catalyst and a pull factor to the economy of the area. The Light Rail System will reduce traffic congestion and carbon emission in line with the Administration’s policy on climate change.”
The new projects the administration is considering are the Port Harcourt to Maiduguri line covering Aba, Owerri, Umuahia, Enugu, Awka, Abakaliki, Makurdi, Lafia, Jos, Bauchi, Gombe, Yola and Damaturu. Also on the cards are the Abuja to Itakpe line, which is planned to go through Baro and terminate in Warri with the construction of a new seaport at Warri.
The president also said, “Negotiations are also advanced for the construction of other railway lines, firstly from Kano to Maradi in Niger Republic passing through Kazaure, Daura, Katsina, Jibia to Maradi.”
“Secondly, Lagos to Calabar the “Coastal Rail” through Ore, Benin, Agbor, Asaba, Onitsha, Sapele, Ughelli, Warri, Yenagoa, Otuoke, Port Harcourt, Aba, Uyo and Calabar. In the next few years, all these Nigerian cities will be linked by functional modern rail systems, giving enormous boost to the social and economic life of our people.”
The president however ordered the reconstituted Management of the Federal Road Maintenance Agency (FERMA) to embark on a 12-week rapid intervention in road repairs to cover all the geo-political zones, to tackle repairs and maintenance of 44 roads it is undertaking within the zones.
According to President Buhari: “Twenty-five major highways will be funded under the N100b SUKUK facility. Each geo-political zone will benefit by an equal amount of N16.67b. The following major highways are to receive special attention:
In addition, Government has approved work to start on the re-construction of Abuja – Kaduna – Zaria – Kano road which is in a state of disrepair. Work will soon start and is expected to be completed in 2019.
President Buhari acknowledged what is common knowledge, that epileptic power supply has denied too many people the much-needed electricity. Although generation has reached 7,000MW, the country achieved 5,155MW of power distribution, the highest level ever recorded on December 8, 2017.
This was made possible by the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) and the Niger Delta Holding Company which, “added 1,950MVA of 330 down to 132KV transformer capacity of 10 transmission stations and 2,930MVA of 132 down to 33KV transformer capacity of 42 sub-stations including Ikot Ekpene, Aba, Alagbon, Ajah, Ejigbo, Funtua and Zaria.”
According to President Buhari, this was achieved because “Payment Assurance Guarantee Scheme which started in January 2016 has enabled the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trader to raise so far N701 billion to assure Generation Companies of at least 80% payment for any power delivered to the national grid.”
Consequently: “Several moribund projects have been revived. Repairs of Afam Power Station added 110MW in 2017 and another 240MW will be added this year through a private investment partnership.
“Katsina Power Project is now being tested and producing 10MW of power from wind for the first time in Nigeria. It should be fully operational this year.
“The Zungeru 700MW Hydroelectric Power Project, stalled by court cases is due for completion in 2019. The transmission and other requirements to operate the 30MW Gurara Phase 1 Hydroelectric Plant, the 40MW Kashimbilla Hydroelectric Plant and the 215 MW Kaduna Gas/LPG/Diesel Power Plant will also be completed this year.
“A landmark project, Mambilla Hydroelectric Power Project is at last taking off. This project has been on the drawing Board for 40 years, but now the engineering, procurement and construction contract for the 3,050MW project has been agreed with a Chinese joint venture Company with a financing commitment from the government of China. Completion is targeted for 2023.
Nigerians will hold President Buhari by his words as the 2019 election clock begin to tick loudly and ask him to make good his promise that: “These massive public works should spearhead the recovery and lead millions back to employment.’