The Federal Executive Council (FEC) yesterday approved N1.3 billion consultancy service contracts for the design of six standard gauge rail lines across the country.
Transport Minister, Idris Umar, disclosed this to State House correspondents yesterday after the FEC meeting chaired by President Goodluck Jonathan.
Umar noted that the six lots totalling 4,430km to be completed within six months were in addition to the seven approved by the council last year.
According to the minister, the contracts are part of the 35-year strategic vision of the federal government for the rail sector. He said the scope of work would include detailed studies, surveys and designs as well as identification of rail stations along the routes, environmental impact assessment, workshops and other rail basic infrastructure.
He said the new contracts cover Kano-Dayi-Katsina-Jibiya rail line, Ilela-Sokoto-Jega-Yauti-Makera rail line, Aba-Ikot Ekpene-Ibiono-Itu (spur line to Uyo)-Odupkani-Calabar rail line, Kano-Nguru-Gashua-Damaturu/Gamborun-Ngala rail line, Calabar-Ikom-Obudu-Ogoja-Katsina Ala-Wukari-Jalingo-Yola-Maiduguri and Port Harcourt-Aba-Umuahia-Enugu-Makurdi-Lafia-Jos-Bauchi-Gombe-Biu-Maiduguri rail line.
He said the contracts were carefully selected to cover areas with such strong economic potentials as mining, petro-chemicals, solid minerals deposits, agricultural zones, among others. The minister added that the contracts for the seven corridors earlier awarded had been completed and would soon be awarded for construction of standard rail lines.
"We want to ensure that within the next 25 years, government will put in more efforts to ensure the development of the areas through government funding and public private partnership arrangements. The scope of work to be carried out by the consultants will include detailed studies for them to establish the viability of these projects and bring out the technical, economic and financial models," he said.