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Minister of Transportation, Hon. Rotimi Amaechi, has reassured that the December 2018 deadline for the delivery of the Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge rail track is still on track.

According to him, the contractor handling the project, China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation, is expected to commence the laying of the track in December, after clearing the obstructions.

The Minister who spoke after a meeting with the contractors in Lagos, revealed that the Federal Government team led by himself had decided to undertake a monthly inspection of the project to ensure its smooth execution and delivery on schedule.

It would be recalled that Vice President Yemi Osinbajo had inaugurated the rail construction project earlier in the year, with a projection that about half a million jobs would be created through it.

The new Lagos-Ibadan rail, spanning 156.65 kilometres, is a double line, which is the first phase of 2,733km new Lagos-Kano rail line, expected to be linked with the Kaduna-Abuja standard gauge railway recently completed and now running.

Amaechi said, “On monthly basis, we’ll try to review the performance of contractors so as ensure that we meet our target of laying this track by December 2018.

“We are satisfied with the work done. Sand clearing has been done; we have started taking away the debris. Hopefully by 2017 December, they will start laying tracks; we believe that if they maintain the current speed, we should be able to deliver by 2018.”

The new Lagos-Ibadan rail line is expected to cost N458bn and is being jointly funded by the Nigerian and Chinese governments. While the Federal Government has paid N72bn as its counterpart funding for the project, the Export-Import Bank of China will commit $1.275bn (about N408bn) on behalf of China.

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