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The Federal Executive Council on Wednesday approved contracts totalling N1.3bn for consultancy services for the design of six standard gauge rail lines across the country.
Minister of Information, Mr. Labaran Maku; Minister of Trade, Industry and Investment, Olusegun Aganga; and Minister of Transport, Senator Idris Umar, briefed State House correspondents at the end of the meeting, presided over by President Goodluck Jonathan.
Umar said the six lots, totalling 4,430km, were in addition to seven earlier lots approved by the council last year.
He listed the railway lines covered by the new contracts to include Kano-Dayi-Katsina-Jibiya rail line; Ilela-Sokoto-Jega-Yauti-Makera rail line; Aba-Ikot Ekpene-Ibiono-Itu (spur line to Uyo)-Odupkani-Calabar rail line; Kano-Nguru-Gashua-Damaturu/Gamborun-Ngala rail line; Calabar-Ikom-Obudu-Ogoja-Katsina Ala-Wukari-Jalingo-Yola-Maiduguri; as well as Port Harcourt-Aba-Umuahia-Enugu-Makurdi-Lafia-Jos-Bauchi-Gombe-Biu-Maiduguri rail line.
The minister said the contracts were parts of the 35 years strategic vision of the Federal Government for the rail sector.
He said the scope of work would include detailed studies, detailed surveys and designs, identification of potential train stations and Environmental Impact Assessment, among others.
He also disclosed that the contracts for the seven corridors earlier awarded had been completed and that they would soon be advertised for development.
Aganga said he reported to the council that the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation had recognised the development efforts of Nigeria and Ethiopia.
He quoted UNIDO as saying that the two countries showed the strongest and highest potential for industrial development in Africa.
With that recognition, the minister said the organisation identified with the transformation efforts in Nigeria and endorsed the Nigeria Industrial Revolution Plan.
He added that UNIDO had decided to open an investment and development office in Nigeria to fastback industrial development.
He said the organisation has only eight of such offices in the world while Nigeria would be hosting the first and the only one in Africa.
“What this means to us is that the world is acknowledging the efforts of this administration in transforming the economy,” Aganga said. PUNCH