Commercial officer of the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Nigeria, Liu Jungsheng, has assured that the long-awaited Lagos-Abeokuta-Ibadan rail modernization project being handled by China will be completed by May 2020.
While speaking with journalists at a press briefing to evaluate the just-concluded Belt and Road Forum which took place in Beijing, China, Liu said the project, which is being handled by CCECC, a subsidiary of China Railway Construction Corporation CRCC, is expected to extend to Apapa ports and will cost 1.581b dollars to complete.
Liu also said the Export Import Bank of China (EIBC) provides 80.14 percent of the funding which amounts to 1.267b dollars while Nigeria committed 19.86 percent, which amounts to 314 million dollars.
According to the diplomat, the three years’ project commenced May 2017 and will adopt the Chinese double track standard with a designed speed of 150km per hour.
“The construction work commenced simultaneously in different sections of the project with over 10,000 foreign and local employees and over 1,600 sets of equipment on site. The project has been progressing with safety, quality and efficiency despite the rainy season and various obstacles with over 80% of the job already done.
“With the rate of work going on at the pace of 2km daily, it is expected that the remaining 20% will be concluded by May 2020,” Liu noted.
The Acting Consul General, China Consulate in Lagos, Mr. Guan Zhongqi assured that with China opening up to the rest of the world since about 40 years ago, coupled with her Belt and Road Initiative which Nigeria has tapped into, Nigeria has a lot to benefit from the consistent growing relationship between the two countries especially in the area of technological transfer.
He enumerated the many gains of the Belt and Road Initiative conceived by the Chinese leader, Xi Jinping, in 2013, adding that the second “Belt and Road Forum is the most important event in China in 2019”.
“World leaders who attended the forum reached broad consensus on high quality cooperation delivering substantial results”, he said.
“Opening up to the world is a big opportunity especially through China’s import and export fair and it is believed that Nigerian businessmen would take advantage of this opportunity this year when it comes up again.
“Nigeria is a strategic partner with China. Our relationship in the area of economy and culture is getting closer and it will continue to improve each year.
“I foresee the co-operation between the two countries getting very strong with more and more Nigerian businessmen going to China and Chinese businessmen coming to Nigeria” he said.
Zhongqi noted that China’s opening up to the world has also benefitted China, the most populous country in the world through development of her economy as she continues to reach out to the world through her big market.
He described as a huge success the second Belt and Road Initiative which took place in Beijing last year with heads of state and government from 38 countries including President Buhari, United Nations Secretary General and Managing Director, International Monetary Fund (IMF) with over 6,000 foreign guests from 150 countries and 92 int.