Reps Seek Early Completion Of $823m Abuja Rail Mass Transit Project

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Abuja Light RailThe House of Representatives has offered to assist towards early completion of the Abuja rail mass transit project.

The $823m project has been bogged down by inadequate funding and non-release of $405m for its completion.

The assurance came on the heels of an oversight function to the project site by the House Committee on Federal Capital Territory (FCT) led by Herman Hembe.

During the oversight visit, the committee members expressed satisfaction with progress of the project at the site.

Briefing the committee, the FCTA Director, Public Building, Anwaninu Anthony, said the project was conceived in 1977 as contained in the Abuja Master plan but revived when a contract for the design and construction of Lots 1-3 of the FCT Rail system was awarded to China Civil Engineering Construction Cooperation Nigeria Limited (CCECC) in May 2007.

The contract was awarded after a review at $823m from the original sum of $841.6 to cover 45.245km.

The three phases include Central Area to Idu Industrial zone terminating at Abuja International Airport and Gwagwa to Dei-dei terminating at Gbazango station in Kubwa.

The EXIM Bank of China, which is to facilitate the project with US$500m with the balance of $323m coming from the Federal Government of Nigeria under the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA), has paid $305m.

The federal government has paid $113m leaving a total outstanding payment of $405m.

Anthony, who said inadequate funding was responsible for the delay on the part of the contractor to meet the December 31, 2015 deadline, assured that it will take the contractor no more than 11 months to complete the project once money is available.

The FCTA official also said everyone affected by the project has been compensated.

In his response, Hembe assured of assistance towards the project.

He said: “I will appeal to my colleagues to see how we can assist FCTA to complete this project because of its importance to residence of Abuja and its environs”.

Another member, Jibrin Satumari, said exploring movement of funds from idle projects to fund the rail project might be an option.

“I will prefer that the money earmarked for the building of the Vice President’s residence is channeled toward this project because of its potential to the people”, he said

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