By Stanley Onyekwere
The commencement of railway services is already stimulating investments on the railway corridors, according to the FCT Minister, Malam Muhammad Musa Bello.
Bello said aside easing of transportation for residents, the project is helping to develop the capacity of some young Nigerians in railway technology, operations and ancillary services.
He noted each of the stations already in operation has made room for clusters of economic activities such as retail trade, estate development and other forms of investments.
The Minister spoke when members of the Senate Committee on Local and Foreign Debts paid an oversight visit to the FCT Administration, on Monday.
According to him, consultants handling the project were mainly Nigerians with many FCT engineers working with the Chinese to deliver on the projects.
“A new crop of young Nigerians are being trained to manage the railway value chain. Some local indigenes from around the railway corridor have been sent to China to learn railways technology, management.
“To the FCT the huge multiplier values derivable from the utility will be of immense benefits both for now and for the future. It is of interest to note that there are Nigerians, even women, now driving the locomotives,” he stressed.
Earlier in his remark, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Local and Foreign Debts, Senator Shehu Sani has commended the FCT Administration over the success achieved on the Abuja Light Rail project, as it puts Abuja in good stead and in conformity with other cities of the world.
He said the Committee was in FCTA to receive a comprehensive report on the utilization of funds received as loans by the FCTA under the Federal Government lending plans as approved by the National Assembly.
Similarly, Vice Chairman of the Committee, Senator Philip Gyunka, underscored the strategic importance of the FCT in the country, particularly with regards to implementation of projects designed to improve the lives of people.
He recalled that under the 2012 and 2014 external borrowing plan of the Federal Government, two major projects; the Abuja rail project, with a credit amount of $500 million obtained from EXIM Bank of China and a facility for the Development of Infrastructure of the satellite towns, with a credit amount of $300 million from the African Development Bank, were approved.