ABUJA – The Federal Executive Council (FEC) on Wednesday approved N1.3 billion for the feasibility studies of standard rail gauge system on six rail corridors across the country.
The Minister of Transport, Alhaji Idris Umar, said this when he briefed State House Correspondents after the weekly FEC meeting presided over by President Goodluck Jonathan.
He said the feasibility study would also involve identification of the rail stations along the routes as well as come up with an environmental impact assessment of the project.
“Today, I brought a memo to council for approval for contract to engage consultants to carry out studies for the development of standard gauge rail lines across the country.
“Council considered the memo and graciously approved the award of the contract to engage consultants for the development of standard gauge rail lines.
“The total length of the six corridors is 4,430 kilometers and it is going to cost the Federal Government N1.3 billion.’’
Umar said that the rail corridors were identified under the 25 years strategic railway development policy of the federal government.
According to him, the contract includes studies of the viability of the rail project and identification of business and economic activities along the selected corridors.
According to the Minister, the corridors include Kano-Dai-Jimbia with an approximate distance of 354km; Ilela-Sokoto-Jega-Kontagora (408km); Aba- Ikot Ekpene- Itu- Uyo –Uduopkani-Calabr (340km).
Also included in the project is Kano-Nguru-Geshua-Damaturu-Maiduguri- Gamboru-Ngala, covering 707 Km.
Others are Calabar-Ikom-Obudu-Ogoja-Katsina Ala-Wukari-Jalingo-Yola-Maiduguri covering 1,669km and Port Harcourt-Aba-Umuahia-Enugu-Lafia-Jos-Bauchi-Biu-Maidiguri, covering 550km.
Umar also told newsmen that the seven corridors earlier awarded had been completed and the contract for the construction of standard rail lines would soon be awarded.
He said the rail corridors were carefully selected to cover areas with strong economic potential.
Such potential, he said, include: mining, petro-chemicals, Solid minerals deposits, agricultural zones, linkages to airports and state capitals across the country.
The Minister expressed the hope that the Federal Government would develop all its rail line corridors across the country.
“The idea is that within the next 25 years government will put effort to ensure the development of various corridors to link up all these areas.
“Some through government funding and many and more through public private partnership arrangements.
“The scope of work to be carried out by the consultants will include detailed studies for them to establish the viability of these projects, bringing out the technical, economic and financial models and indeed to generate what we call ‘outline business scales’ to justify the financial and economic viability of the various corridors.
“And, to provide proposal for the alignment and connections of the urban and commercial settlements along the proposed routes.
“They are equally to carry out detailed surveys and design of the selected alignments, to identify potential train stations, workshops and other rail base infrastructure to incorporate them in the design.’’
The project is to be completed in six months.(NAN)