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HomeTransportTRANSPORT MINISTER EXPRESSES DISAPPOINTMENT OVER PORT-HARCOURT MAIDUGURI NARROW GAUGE LINE PROJECT PROGRESS

TRANSPORT MINISTER EXPRESSES DISAPPOINTMENT OVER PORT-HARCOURT MAIDUGURI NARROW GAUGE LINE PROJECT PROGRESS

The Minister of Transportation, Senator Sa’idu Alkali, has conveyed his profound disappointment regarding the sluggish execution of the Port-Harcourt to Maiduguri narrow gauge rail project by the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC).

Senator Alkali, who recently visited Port-Harcourt for an on-site evaluation of the Eastern rail project, expressed his discontent, stating, “I am not merely unhappy; I am deeply disappointed with the pace of work on this project.”

This dissatisfaction was relayed in an official statement issued by the Director of Press & PR of the Ministry, Henshaw Ogubike.

According to the Minister, the section between Port Harcourt and Aba has only achieved a completion stage of 47 percent, far below the anticipated 47 percent for the entire stretch from Port Harcourt to Maiduguri. Senator Alkali raised concerns, questioning, “If you cannot complete Port Harcourt to Aba, which spans 63km, in 12 months, how can you meet the challenge of completing over 2000km within 36 months?”

Furthermore, the Minister expressed dismay at the use of manual alignment processes by CCECC in laying the tracks, considering it outdated for the 21st century. He also voiced his disappointment about the contractor’s failure to provide the required 85% counterpart funding for the project.

The Minister clarified that the project agreement, signed two years ago, stipulated that the Federal Government would provide 15% funding, with Messrs CCECC responsible for 85%. However, to date, only the Federal Government’s 15% has been utilized to keep the project moving forward, with no contribution from the contractor.

Senator Alkali assured that the contract terms would be reviewed within the bounds of the law, and any contractual breaches would face enforcement. He underscored the project’s potential benefits, notably linking the two sea ports in Port-Harcourt to Maiduguri and facilitating regional trade at a significantly reduced cost.

In response, Mr. C. Ching, representing CCECC, pledged that the first project section from Port Harcourt to Aba would be completed by December 2023, citing ample materials on hand to meet the target date.

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