Railways, Mambila Power Project To Top Buhari, Xi Jinping’s Discussions At S/Africa Forum
President Muhammadu Buhari will later today depart Abuja for South Africa to participate in the Forum on China/Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) taking place in Johannesburg, from Friday, December 4 to Saturday, December 5.
The forum will afford President Buhari the opportunity to follow up his discussion with President Xi Jinping of China, which they began last month on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly meeting in New York.
President Buhari had informed Mr. Xi Jinping at the bilateral meeting in New York that Nigeria wanted to China to re-commence stalled rail projects under new terms that would see China providing nearly all the funds required.
A statement on Wednesday by the Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to the President, Malam Garba Shehu, noted that of particular interest to Mr. Buhari is the coastal railway project stretching for 1,402 kilometers linking Lagos in the South West with Calabar in the South-South, a project that is expected to be financed with $12 billion Chinese loan and expected to create about 200,000 direct and indirect jobs.
Also up for renegotiation is the $8.3bn Lagos-Kano standard gauge modernization project, of which only the Kaduna-Abuja part of the project has reached completion stage.
President Buhari, according to the statement, is also expected to discuss with his Chinese counterpart how all obstacles in the way of the 3,050MW Mambila Power Station – a strategic project that was conceived in 1982 but is yet to take off – could be removed.
It was learnt that President Jinping had informed President Buhari about his country’s readiness to finance the project through a special loan agreement.
The President, who will be accompanied on the trip by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyema; Minister of Transportation, Chubuike Amaechi and the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Okechukwu Enelamah, will return to Abuja on December 5.