The Federal Government of Nigeria needs at least US $2bn to revive the Lagos-Kano railway line as part of efforts to boost local and international trade along the Northern and Southern zones. This is according to Professor Yemi Osinbajo, Nigeria’s Vice President.
Speaking during the opening of the inaugural edition of the Lagos-Kano Economic and Investment Summit held at the Jubilee Chalets in Epe, Lagos, Osinbajo said the Federal Government in partnership with a private firm, General Electric (GE) is currently proposing to invest in the project to enhance the movement of cargo from Apapa ports to Kano via the rail line.
Commending the Lagos and Kano State Governors for creating a platform to collaborate for economic growth, Osinbajo expressed optimism that such initiatives will open up the investment opportunities that will benefit both States in terms of investors both locally and internationally.
“I believe that Lagos and Kano States have by this collaboration underscored the cornerstone of the Federal Government’s economic recovery and growth plan, namely the leveraging of synergies among States and between government and the private sector,” said Professor Yemi Osinbajo.
Refurbishing railway project
“The strategic role of the federal government is of course to create an enabling environment for commerce beginning with the provision of infrastructure. “For us, what this meant especially in the context of Lagos and Kano collaboration is the refurbishing of the narrow gauge Lagos to Kano Rail with a concession to General Electric who are proposing to invest almost US $2bn to ensure that the rail route is effective for movement of cargo from Apapa port to Kano,” he added.
“Similarly, we are investing in the Lagos to Kano standard gauge line, the Lagos Ibadan portion of that is expected to be ready by the end of this year. Also, we have budgeted US $222.9m for the development of special economic zones in the six geo-political zones of the country,” Osinbajo said.
While reeling out plans by the Federal Government on power, the Vice President said arrangements have been firmed up to establish independent power projects to specifically service printers in Somolu area and traders in Sura Market.
He said the Federal Government will keep a close tap on the decisions reached at the Summit and would use it to direct its engagement with State Governments going forward.
“Let me again commend Governors Ganduje and Ambode for this Summit. I want to commend Governor Ganduje for making the long journey to Lagos. I must also say that Governor Ambode deserves special mention for his foresightedness in establishing this collaboration, working with Governor Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi on the famous LAKE Rice and even leasing land from Ogun State to grow rice which I think is another act of collaboration,” Osinbajo said.
Nonetheless, State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode said the decision of the State Government to join the Oodua Investment Group triggered what has evolved over the last two years to become a signpost for effective partnerships between Lagos and other States.