ABUJA, Sept 2 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
It is part of a project to modernise a railway between the
country's commercial hub Lagos, in the southwest, and Kano in
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.
(Reporting by Camillus Eboh; Writing by Alexis Akwagyiram;
Editing by Alexander Smith)