Nigeria gets Chinese firm onboard to modernise railways – Reuters

ABUJA, Sept 2 (Reuters) – Nigeria’s government has signed up China Civil Engineering Construction Corp (CCECC) to modernise and build railways in the north and south of the country, the West African country’s transport minister said.

Growth in Nigeria – an OPEC member whose economy has slipped into recession for the first time in more than 20 years after being hammered by low oil prices – has been stunted for decades by a lack of investment in roads and railways.

Finance Minister Kemi Adeosun said last month that extra funds would be allocated for capital projects and the government was in talks with General Electric to develop and operate rail services to improve the transport for goods.

The transport ministry said, in a statement issued late on Thursday, that two agreements were signed with CCECC, a subsidiary of China’s state-owned railway construction firm.

One agreement was for work on a railway segment between the northern states of Kano and Kaduna “with a contract sum of $1.685 billion”.

It is part of a project to modernise a railway between the country’s commercial hub Lagos, in the southwest, and Kano in the north.

The other agreement was related to extending a railway between the southern cities of Calabar and Port Harcourt to the Onne Deep Sea Port “at the cost of $3.4 billion”.

Transport Minister Rotimi Amaechi said the government would “release its counterpart funds as quickly as possible noting that with the cooperation of the China-Exim Bank, the projects would be completed in November 2018”.

China Railway Construction Corporation said on Aug. 29 that two of its subsidiaries had been awarded the light railway contract in Kano. This was conditional upon approval from the Nigerian government, which has now been given.