Slow progress on Port Harcourt-Maiduguri narrow gauge disappointing – Minister

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Lagos.

The Minister of Transportation, Sen. Sa’idu Alkali, on Friday said he was disappointed by the slow progress of work on the Port Harcourt-Maiduguri narrow gauge railway project.

Alkali expressed his disappointment after he and some top officials of the Ministry of Transportation inspected the project at Oyibbo Community in Rivers State on Friday, a statement from the ministry said.

The minister said he was disappointed with the slow progress of work on the project and the performance of the contractor, China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC).

He said he was concerned by the delay and inefficiencies that had plagued the construction process.

“The Port Harcourt to Maiduguri Narrow Gauge Railway Project, once completed, is expected to facilitate the movement of goods and people, stimulate regional trade, and contribute to the overall socio-economic advancement of the country.

“The contract for the rehabilitation and reconstruction of the 2,044.1 km Port Harcourt-Maiduguri Eastern Narrow Gauge was signed on 16th November 2020 with a completion period of 36 months.

“The project is jointly financed by the Federal Government and the CCECC, with the Nigerian government providing 15% funding while the CCECC will provide 85% of the funds.

“However, the physical progress of work on the entire project so far is 243 km (1.24%) of the 2,044.1 km,” Alkali said.

He said that the delay had caused significant frustration among stakeholders and the local communities that were eagerly awaiting the completion of the railway line.

The minister, however, assured the public of quick completion of the project, saying that his visit underscored the government’s determination to prioritise infrastructure development and deliver on its promises to the Nigerian people.

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