From Noah Ebije, Kaduna
Kaduna State governor, Nasir El- Rufai has disclosed that the State Government has conceived a three-prong approach towards solving the transportation problems of the state for efficient human and vehicular movement.
The governor who disclosed this at the ground breaking of Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) , traced the efforts of the government in securing financing of the projects to Indian bank where 6 million dollars loan was obtained.
‘’We began to explore the possibility of having a light rail stretching from Rigachikun to Maraban Rido and we made progress securing financing from Indian Xing Bank to the tune of 6 million dollars to execute that project.
‘’We engaged the famous French Transportation Consulting firm, Systra to do the feasibility studies as well as engineering design for the project,’’ he added.
El-Rufai however lamented that the government has ‘’ been unable to find an operator, someone that will operate the light rail when it is completed. And we think it is important to do that before we proceed.’’
According to him, the second component of addressing the transportation problems is BRT, which the government initially had difficulty in financing the project.
The governor however said that ‘’the French government kindly stepped in and through its development Agency, AFD offered us a line of credit, a concessionary line of credit to finance this project.’’
The governor expressed gratitude to the government of France as well as the Ambassador and her team for “being patient and pushing very hard to get this project to this stage. ‘’
He expressed optimism that in a couple of years, Kaduna will have a functioning Bus Rapid Transit that will be moving tens of thousands of people every day.
The governor said with this project, government will be partnering with the smaller bus operators and Kaduna State Transport Authority to ‘’carry most of the traffic of people coming to work and back home every day in the city of Kaduna.’’
‘’We hope with the success of this project, we will extend this to Zaria Metropolitan area and Kafanchan Municipal area and gradually to all our major towns and cities,’’ he said.
El Rufai expressed gratitude to the French government for the support and the Federal Ministry of Finance for guarantying the facility concerning the agreement as well as all the Agencies that have worked to make this happen.
The governor particularly appreciated the Commissioner of Public Works and Infrastructure, Mr. Thomas Gyang, as well as the Director General of Kaduna State Transport Regulatory Authority, Aisha Saidu Bala, for their efforts.
Responding, the French Ambassador, Emmanuelle Blatmann, who jointly laid the foundation stone with the state governor, described the project as “ambitious”, and a 110 euro investment.
She expressed the hope that the Kaduna model will serve as source of reference to other states in the country to emulate.
Her Excellency also said that over 100,000 persons will benefit from the project and over 100,000 commuters will use the service daily.
The Ambassador hoped that this Franco-Nigeria economic cooperation will strengthen further relationship between Nigeria and France.