By Akin Akande, Abuja
Determined to complete the multi-billion naira Abuja light rail project, Senator Bala Mohammed, Minister of the Federal Capital Territory has invited Canadian conglomerates to lend him a helping hand by investing in the project.
He extended the invitation on Tuesday during a working tour of the Abuja Rail Project by Hon. Edward Fast, the Canadian Minister of International Trade who is leading a 40-company Canadian Trade Delegation on a working visit to Nigeria.
The FCT Minister was represented by the Secretary of Transportation of the Federal Capital Territory Administration, Engr. Jonathan Ivoke.
He told the visiting Canadian Minister that the Abuja Rail Network comprises of Six (6) lots covering a distance of approximately 285km.
The Minister added that the feasibility study and conceptual design for Lots 1, 2, and 3 of the rail project was undertaken in May 2006. Presently, lots 1 and 3 are under construction with a programmed completion date of first quarter of 2015.
He stressed that the feasibility study and conceptual design for the remaining Lots 4, 5 and 6 was under procurement.
Senator Mohammed told the Canadian Delegation that the remaining lots were available for concession under a design, build, manage, operate and transfer project.
According to him, about 15 stations and sub-stations are proposed for the current phase of Abuja Rail Project depending on the availability of other modes of transport.
He said the stations include in-line stations which offer limited interchange facilities, bus transfer stations and rail transfer stations which will provide facilities for transfer between two or more rail services.
The Nigerian Minister told the delegation that apart from the rail project, there several other areas of huge opportunities for investment in FCT such as tourism, mass housing, monorail and infrastructure.
Responding, the Canadian Minister, Edward Fast described the bilateral relationship between Nigeria and Canada as very cordial and robust. He said that within the last decade the value of Canadian investment in Nigeria has increased from $1 billion to $2.7 billion stressing that the volume would continue to grow.
Fast stated that the Canadian International Development Agency (IDA) has extended a lot of international assistance to Nigeria in the areas of human capital development.