President Muhammadu Buhari said on Tuesday the Harcourt–Maiduguri rail line would reactivate economic activities along the eastern corridor after the completion of rehabilitation works on the facility.
The President stated this at the ground-breaking ceremony of three projects – the rehabilitation and reconstruction of Port Harcourt– Maiduguri Eastern Narrow Gauge railway project, Bonny Deep Seaport and Railway Industrial Park in Port Harcourt.
He said the country’s aspiration for nationwide transport infrastructure and railways would be significantly enhanced by the three projects.
Buhari said: ‘‘The connection of the railway to a new seaport in Bonny Island and Railway Industrial Park, Port Harcourt, is designed to increase the viability and boost trans-shipment of cargo and freight locally, across the West African sub-region, and in the Continental Free Trade Area.
‘‘The sum of the socio-economic and environmental benefits of these projects include the creation of massive employment locally.
‘‘In addition, there will be further utilisation of local contents and technology transfer, increase in internally generated revenue and would serve as a fulcrum for the achievement of the Federal Government planned Integrated Development Masterplan.”
The President urged Nigerians, especially industrialists, manufacturers and businesses within the zones to take maximum advantage of the infrastructure in planning for expansion and building new factories.
He said that the projects, when completed, would raise Nigeria’s economy to the global stage while reaffirming its leading role in Africa.
President Buhari said the Port Harcourt – Maiduguri railway project with new branch lines to Owerri, Imo, Damaturu, and Yobe would resuscitate the once vibrant railway transportation in the country’s eastern corridor.
‘‘We are further expanding it to achieve contemporary demand for transport in the North East and Southern geopolitical zones of the country.
‘‘It is also designed to link other standard gauge rail lines under construction through the provision of trans-shipment centres.
‘‘The funding of the railway is through a loan to fund 85 percent of project cost and the federal government’s contribution of 15 percent as counterpart funding,’’ he added.
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