Home » Abuja Light Rail Project Gets N5.5bn Boost for Access Roads

Abuja Light Rail Project Gets N5.5bn Boost for Access Roads

The government hopes to resume passenger service on the light rail system by next year

by Motoni Olodun

The Federal Government of Nigeria has approved N5.5 billion to construct access roads for the Abuja light rail system, which is expected to improve the transportation network and ease traffic congestion in the capital city.

The Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Nyesom Wike, announced this on Monday after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting presided over by President Bola Tinubu at the Presidential Villa.

Wike said the approval was part of the government’s commitment to complete the Abuja light rail project, which was initiated in 1997 but faced several delays due to funding challenges and security issues.

He said the President had set a timeline for the completion of the project and emphasized the importance of preparing the access roads to the railway stations for commuters in communities along the rail lines.

The access roads will be constructed by China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC), which is also handling the rail project. The contract covers Lot 4, which serves communities around the airport and Abuja Hajj Camp.

Wike said the government hoped to resume passenger service on the light rail system by next year, adding that some car parks and other facilities would also be created to enhance the convenience and safety of users.

The Abuja light rail project consists of six lots covering a distance of approximately 285km. Lot 1, which has two lines and 12 stations connecting the city center with the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport and Idu, was completed and inaugurated in 2018 but was suspended in early 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The project is part of the FCT Transportation Master Plan and is expected to reduce travel time, fuel consumption, air pollution, and road accidents in Abuja. It is also expected to boost economic activities and create employment opportunities for Nigerians.

The project is partly funded by a $500 million loan from the Export-Import Bank of China, secured in 2012. The loan has a 20-year tenor and a seven-year moratorium at an interest rate of 2.5% annually.

The government has also expressed its intention to source more funds from China and other development partners to complete the remaining lots of the project, which will link other satellite towns such as Gwagwa, Nyanya, Kuje, Karshi, Kubwa, Bwari, Suleja, Gwagwalada, and Dobi.

The Abuja light rail project is one of the major infrastructure projects undertaken by the government to improve the living standards of Nigerians and diversify the economy from oil dependence.

Other projects include the Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge railway, which was completed and commissioned in June 2023; the Second Niger Bridge, which is expected to be completed by 2024; and the Mambilla hydroelectric power project, which is expected to generate 3,050MW of electricity when completed.

The government has also launched a $2.3 trillion National Integrated Infrastructure Master Plan (NIIMP), which outlines Nigeria’s infrastructure needs and investment strategies for the next 21 years.

According to the NIIMP, Nigeria requires an average annual investment of $150 billion to close its infrastructure gap and achieve its development goals.

Source: Nairametrics

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