Work Commences On PH – Aba Rail Project, PH – Maiduguri Gauge Line

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railway line workers

The Federal Government has begun the rehabilitation of the 1443-kilometre Port Harcourt – Maiduguri narrow gauge rail project and inaugurated operations on the Port-Harcourt to Aba stretch of the rail project.

Both projects are part of efforts to bolster trade, improve accessibility and foster connectivity between the southern and north-eastern regions of Nigeria.

Minister of Transportation, Sen. Said Alkali represented the Federal Government in flagging off the commercial services on the 62-kilometre Port-Harcourt to Aba corridor today, April 30, 2024.

Awarded by the Federal Ministry of Transportation to Messrs China Civil Engineering and Construction Company (CCECC) on October 16, 2020, with a completion timeline of 36 months, the project faced delays due to technical and contractual issues. However, it commenced in March 2022, encompassing the rehabilitation of the existing narrow gauge railway line, construction of new modern stations and procurement of new modern rolling stock.

This railway line will link the ports of Onne, Bonny and Port-Harcourt to facilitate the efficient evacuation of goods and freight through the eastern corridor.

In the contractual agreement, the Federal Government is responsible for providing 15 per cent of the direct construction cost inclusive of land acquisition and value added tax (VAT), while a bank loan through direct construction cost is set to cover 85 per cent of the project. Progress on facilitating the bank loan is ongoing and expected to conclude soon, with funding from the yearly budgetary allocation of the Federal Ministry of Transportation.

The commencement of operations along this section of the project aims to stimulate economic activities between the south-south and southeastern regions of the country while awaiting completion of other sections.

Upon the completion of the Port Harcourt – Aba rail corridor rehabilitation, the ministry will redouble efforts to ensure the swift completion and delivery of the 181-kilometre Aba-Enugu stretch.

This initiative aligns with priority 5 of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s Presidential Priority Areas (PPAs), which identifies “Enhanced Infrastructure and Transportation as Enablers of Growth” of the economy.

Oluchi Okorafor
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