As part of renewed commitment towards ensuring inclusive economic development, promoting sustainable investment, and creating jobs for all, especially for its populace, the federal government of Nigeria yesterday flagged off three major projects worth $3.2bn, aimed at boosting the country’s participation in the Africa Continental Free Trade Area.(AfCFTA)
The three projects include the Port Harcourt-Maiduguri Eastern Narrow Gauge railway, Bonny Deep Seaport and Railway Industrial Park, Port Harcourt.
The rehabilitation and reconstruction of the Port Harcourt- Maiduguri railway project, Bonny deep Sea Port and Railway Industrial Park, Port Harcourt are being developed through direct investment by the conglomerate led Messrs CCECC Nigeria Limited with a total investment portfolio of $3.2 billion.
President Muhammadu Buhari while performing the virtual groundbreaking ceremony of the three projects said that the railway project, when completed, would reactivate the dormant economic activities on the eastern corridor.
“The connection of the railway to a new deep seaport in Bonny Island and Railway Industrial Park, Port Harcourt is designed to increase the viability and boost transshipment of cargo and freight locally, across the West African sub-region and in the Continental Free Trade Area.
The second and the third projects are the Bonny deep sea port and a Railway Industrial Park, Port Harcourt that are to be constructed through direct investments by our Chinese partners and international financing agencies. The project is with the objective of resuscitating the once vibrant railway transportation in the Eastern railway corridor of the country,” the president posits.
According to President Buhari, the port is designed to be “a regional and international transport hub. In line with the global trends, the Railway Industrial Park will have the capability for processing exports of raw materials with value addition and also export of locally made goods.”
In planning this project, prudent use of resources has been given priority, as, by this endeavor, Nigeria will retrieve the old narrow gauge that has been lying in neglect for years and bring it to fully functional state commensurate to a National railway service at a rational price,” he reiterated.
He therefore 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.
According to him, the projects, when completed, will raise Nigeria’s economy to the global stage while reaffirming its leading role in Africa.