The Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved the sum of $3.02 billion for the rehabilitation and reconstruction of the Port Harcourt-Maiduguri Eastern Narrow Guage railway project.
The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, who announced this on Wednesday after the virtual FEC meeting, said the approved project has new branch lines and trans-shipment facilities.
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Amaechi said the council also okayed the construction of a new deep seaport at Bonny and a railway industrial park in Port Harcourt to be funded through the Public/Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement and at no cost to the federal government.
According to him, the PPP-funded would be executed at $241.2 million (industrial park) and $461.9 million (Bonny deep seaport) respectively.
“The railway line will be at the cost of $3,020,279,549. The industrial park, which is under PPP, at no cost to federal government, will cost $241,154,389.31. The Bonny deep seaport will cost $461,924,369, at no cost to the federal government.
“The Port Harcourt to Maiduguri narrow guage railway will have new branch lines: from Port Harcourt to Bonny and from Port Harcourt to Owerri are new lines. There’s another connecting to narrow guage to standard guage at Kafanchan. There is a branch line from Gombe or before Maiduguri to Damaturu and Gashau. That’s what has been approved,” he added.
Also, the Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, said the council also endorsed the establishment of two shoes, garments and leather processing factories in Janguza, Kano State, and Aba in Abia State under a PPP arrangement.
Aregbesola, who said the project would be handled by a Nigerian company with the support of a partner from China, stated that it would provide about 4,330 direct and indirect job opportunities, apart from N5.1 billion worth of investment.
“The Council approved the Full Business Skills Compliance Certificate issued by Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC), Abuja, for the design, finance, upgrade, operate, and transfer of the Nigeria Correctional Service Shoe, Garment, and Leather Processing Factory located in Aba, Abia State as well as Janguza, Kano State under a Public Private Partnership (PPP).
“This full business skills certificate and the investment that will come there from amount to 5 billion, 100 million naira (N5,100,000,000). Invariably, when the partnership comes into effect, the benefit is enormous. About 1,330 people will have direct employment, while about 3,000 people will have indirect employment.
“The benefit beside the employment of Nigerians is the opportunity for training of the inmates of our correctional facilities in Janguza, Kano State and Aba in Abia State. The contract for full business skills compliance certificate is given to Messrs LG Investment Limited, a Nigerian company which is partnering with a Chinese company, Full Technology Incorporated from Beijing, China”, he explained.”
The Minister of Industry, Trade, and Investment, Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo, said the council also approved the contract for the procurement and installation of automotive/mechatronics equipment in special centres in six geopolitical zones, as well as three pilot workshops and automotive service hubs for the National Automative Design and Development Council (NADDC) at the cost of N1.8 billion.
Adeniyi, who explained the motive behind the project, said: “the whole idea is that with the kind of vehicles being manufactured today, we need training institutes that will train our mechanics and our youths how to maintain and service these vehicles”.