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President Muhammadu Buhari has rolled out ambitious rail, road and power projects to be executed in the year 2018.
Speaking Monday during his New Year address to the nation, the president devoted his address mainly to informing Nigerians about the intense efforts his administration was making to address the country’s huge infrastructural deficit.
He assured that the federal government was going to make significant in-roads in advancing road, rail and power projects across the country.
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.
“With regards to railways, we have set ourselves ambitious targets. Already in construction stage is the Lagos-Kano Standard Gauge Railway,” the president said.
Buhari said the line should reach Ibadan from Lagos by the end of 2019 and would carry two million passengers per year. He said five million tons of cargo would be transported every year giving a substantial boost to the country’s economy.
The president said the 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,” he said.
He said negotiations would be concluded in the first part of this year for the Port Harcourt to Maiduguri line covering Aba, Owerri, Umuahia, Enugu, Awka, Abakaliki, Makurdi, Lafia, Jos, Bauchi, Gombe, Yola and Damaturu. The Abuja to Itakpe line will go through Baro and terminate in Warri with construction of a new seaport at Warri, he said.
Buhari said negotiations were 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,” he said, assuring that in the next few years, all these Nigerian cities would be linked by functional modern rail systems, giving enormous boost to the social and economic life of the citizenry.
“With respect to the Abuja Capital Light Rail, progress has reached 98% completion, as at 64% completion when we assumed office. Only test runs remain before start of operations”.
The president also said that the management of the Federal Road Maintenance Agency had been reconstituted and charged with a 12- week rapid intervention in road repairs to cover all the geo-political zones.
According to him, the government is undertaking repairs and maintenance of 44 roads within the six geo-political zones.
“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: Oyo – Ogbomosho, Ofusu – Ore – Ajebandele – Shagamu, Yenagoa Road Junction – Kolo Otuoke – Bayelsa Palm, Enugu – Port Harcourt Dual Carriage Way, Onitsha – Enugu Expressway, Kaduna Eastern Bypass, dualization of Kano – Maiduguri Road, dualization of Abuja – Lokoja – Benin Road, and dualization of Suleja – Minna Road.
“In addition, the 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.
He said more Nigerians across the country are experiencing improved power supply to their homes and businesses. However, power remains a concern to this government because too many people still do not have regular and reliable supply.
Buhari said: “The 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.
Power generation has now reached 7,000MW. On December 8, 2017 the country achieved 5,155MW of power delivered to consumers, the highest level ever recorded.
“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 president said 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.
“As I mentioned earlier, the Transmission Company of Nigeria can now distribute all the 7,000MW that can be generated. TCN and the Niger Delta Holding Company have 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”.