A newly-built train is about to leave Idu Railway Station in Nigeria on Friday, June 17, 2016.
A Chinese company will take up construction work of two railway projects in Nigeria, saidNigerian Minister of Transportation Rotimi Amaechi Wednesday in an interview withCNBC Africa.
China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation Ltd. (CCECC), one of the subsidiaries ofChina Railway Construction Corporation, a state-owned construction enterprise, willundertake the construction work of a $ 19.4 billion railway project and the work will lasttwo to three years, said Amaechi in the interview.
The minister also said that The Exportâ€“Import Bank of China will provide loans for theconstruction. According to a report by Thepaper.cn, the railway connecting Lagos andCalabar will cost $11.1 billion and that connecting Lagos and Kano will cost $8.3 billion.
A source close to the construction work told Thepaper.cn that Chinese loans will cover themajority cost of the construction since Nigeria does not have enough capital for such alarge-scale project. The source said that CCECC played an important role to raise money.
The two railways, Lagos-Calabar and Lagos-Kano, are two of the symbolic projects ofChinaâ€™s railway going global. The contract amounts of the two projects set a record whenthey were signed, according to the report
The report said that in 2006, before Beijing summit of Forum on Chinaâ€“AfricaCooperation (FOCAC), China and Nigeria signed a contract costing $8.3 billion to build a1,315-kilometer long railway between Lagos and Kano. It is reported that this project is thebiggest international project taken on by Chinese enterprises at this time.
CCECC got the project contract for the Lagos-Calabar railway construction at a contractedamount of $11.97 billion in 2014.
The minister said that Chinaâ€™s Exim Bank will provide loans for the project but he did notmention specific amounts.
Reporters from Thepaper did not manage to contact the bank for comments.
The report said that the biggest concern about the project is the source of capital.
The source mentioned above said that China and Nigeria have not reached an agreementon conditions of loans yet and the two countries are on the way to reach the agreement.The source said that China alone cannot provide all loans for the two projects.
Amaechi said in the interview that all the projects could start to construct and Nigeriaplanned to guarantee CCECC to finish their projects in two to three years.
The source said that Amaechi was too optimistic about the projects because it is acomplicated thing to build railways in Nigeria. Contractors should take capital, politicsand local governments into consideration, the source told Thepaper.cn.
According to previous reports made by China Radio International, a 186.5-kilometerNigeria Abuja-Kaduna Railway, constructed by CCECC, started its trial operation on June17, 2016. The source said that the two countries signed the railway contract in 2006 andthe construction work started in 2010.
The source said that capital amount more than anything led to the 5-year construction.Loans from China and Nigeriaâ€™s supporting capital sources are the primary ones for the Abuja-Kaduna Railway, the source added.
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