Economy

Chinese firm expresses commitment to trans Saharan Highway

Managing Director of the China Harbor Engineering Company, Zhang Wenfeng, has expressed commitment to the expansion of 5.4km Abuja-Keffi Expressway and the dualisation of the Keffi-Akwanga-Lafia-Makurdi Road, which is an important supplement of the trans-Saharan highway network that traverses six African countries.

On Monday, the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing hosted the 70th Session of the Tran-Saharan Roads Liaison Committee (TSRLC) in Abuja which had in attendance Ministers from member countries (Nigeria, T’ Chad, Niger Republic, Mali, Algeria, and Tunisia) to brainstorm on issues concerning the 9895km trans Saharan Highway of which 80 percent has already been asphalted.

The expansion of 5.4km Abuja-Keffi Expressway and dualisation of Keffi-Akwanga-Lafia-Makurdi Road starts from the southwest of Abuja, passing through the Federal Capital Territory, Nasarawa and Benue States.

The project consists of two parts: the 5.4km reconstruction and expansion section of Abuja-Keffi expressway and the 221.8km reconstruction and expansion section of Keffi-Akwanga-Lafia-Makurdi expressway.

Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola led Ministers of the other countries to inspect the site.

As the first Preferential Buyer’s Credit Loan road project in Nigeria, 15% of counterpart funds are raised by the Nigerian Federal Government, and 85% are provided by the China Export-Import Bank’s Preferential Buyer’s Credit Loan.

The construction, which started on April 1, 2019, is expected to be completed in 36 months.

Wenfeng said: “As the leading force in the field of infrastructure construction in China, China Harbor Engineering Company pays high attention to the project.

“Since April 1st, 2019, all kinds of work has been carried out in an orderly manner, including designing, camp planning and construction, equipment and materials procurement and mobilization, earthwork, bridge, and culvert construction in accordance with the requirements of the construction programme.

“At present, more than 500 sets of construction machinery and equipment are on-site, 254 Chinese employees are deployed in place, and more than 3,400 jobs are provided for the Nigerian people.”

At the end of 2019, the project will complete 78km of subgrade; 169 culverts and 5 bridge foundations.

The project plan to complete 165km of subgrade,339 culverts, 7 bridges and 70km of pavement work at the end of 2020, totally completed 45% works of the project.

At present, all the staff have done all the preparatory works, ready to seize the golden construction period of the dry season, and accelerate the progress of construction.

“In the future, the successful implementation of the project is of great significance not only to the economic and social development, resource development, industrial restructuring and regional interconnection in the region but also promotes the bilateral economic and trade relations between China and Nigeria,” he said.

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