President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, said the Kano-Maradi rail line linking the Niger Republic will boost trans-Sahara trade and boost the gains of the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA).
Buhari disclosed this during the virtual opening ceremony of Kano-Katsina-Jibiya-Maradi rail line, which traverses Kano, Kazaure, Daura, Katsina, Jibiya and Maradi in the Niger Republic.
Describing the rail line as critical infrastructure, he said it would establish an end-to-end logistic supply chain in railway transport services between the North and Southern ports in Lagos and Warri, Delta State.
He explained that the route encompasses territories inhabited by about 80 million people in 10 states of the country, adding that the project has a branch line to Dutse, Jigawa State to open up the corridor, which he noted, was endowed with vast resources.
Buhari said when completed, the project would serve the import and export needs of Niger Republic and other countries in the sub-region through Nigerian ports, insisting that the country would earn vast revenues through trade expansion, while Niger Republic would benefit from the ease of transportation logistics at an affordable cost in its import and export businesses.
He commended Mota-Engil Nigeria Limited for supporting the project with knowledge and technology transfer by investing in the establishment of a learning Institution for Transportation and Railway Science.
“We have embarked on the completion of the 1,424 Kilometer Lagos-Kano rail line to join the one being unveiled today for the Western axis.
Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, said the 284km Kano-Dambatta-Kazaure- Shargelle-Mashi-Daura-Katsina-Jibiya-Maradi rail line would move passengers from Kano and Katsina and stations of standard category in Kazaure, Daura, Jibiya and Dutse and minor stations in Dambatta, Shargelle and Mashi, halt stations in Kunya, Kano airport, Muduru, Dadara and Annol Mata and Maradi in Niger Republic.
He stated that the project would reach substantial completion in 2023 when it would be ready to handle passenger and freight daily traffic forecast of 9,364 passengers and approximately 3,000 metric tons of freight on return trips between Kano and Maradi.
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