(Adds detail, background)
ABUJA May 10 Nigeria will enter negotiations
with General Electric (GE) over a railway project in the
West African country, transport minister Rotimi Amaechi said on
Economic growth in Africa's most populous nation has been
hampered for decades by its dilapidated rail network, built
mainly by British colonial rulers before independence in 1960.
U.S. company GE had submitted the only bid for the $2
billion project connecting northern cities to the south of the
country, according to a procurement process adviser, doing so in
partnership with Transnet of South Africa,
Dutch-based APM Terminals and China's Sinohydro Consortium.
"Cabinet has approved that we commence negotiations,"
Amaechi told reporters after a cabinet meeting.
The concession will cover about 3,500 km (2,200 miles) of
existing narrow-gauge lines from the southwestern commercial
capital Lagos to Kano in the north and from southeastern oil hub
Port Harcourt to Maiduguri in the northeast.
Nigeria's upper chamber of parliament, the Senate, said in
November that it would investigate the railway concession over
possible violations by Nigerian officials.
(Reporting by Felix Onuah; Writing by Ulf Laessing; Editing by