By Uche Usim, Abuja
The Afri-China Media Centre has described huge investment in transport infrastructure as a major fulcrum on which Nigeria’s economic prosperity hinges.
Speaking at the public presentation of a book on Abuja Integrated Mass Transport System yesterday in Abuja on Wednesday, the Executive Director of the Afri-China Media Centre, Mr Ikenna Emewu noted that the Abuja integrated transport currently handled by the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) should be replicated in other parts of Nigeria to make the sub-national governments attractive to investors.
According to Emewu, Nigeria, with a population of about 200 million people and a target of growing her economy, would need a robust transport system or else the projections will remain a mirage.
“It wouldn’t lead the country anywhere towards economic advancement”, he noted.
The centre added that the Abuja integrated mass transport project is a proof that Abuja has set out on the course of growth and economic expansion in tourism, services, retailing and distribution, hospitality, healthcare, education and other aspects of the economy.
Noting the gains associated with the integrated mass transportation in Abuja, Emewu said that some other cities of the nation would be on their way to economic growth if the same integrated system is worked out there.
“Such provision would tremendously change the narrative in traffic congestion that has been a crisis in a city like Lagos with over 20 million residents.”
The document highlighted some of the projects that were built by CCECC and the federal government through financing agreement with the China EXIM Bank. The projects include the railway linking Abuja to Kaduna; the Abuja metro railway service that was completed in 2018 and the new Abuja airport terminal.
Also speaking at the event, the Director in charge of Corporate Communications in CCECC, Vincent Liu said that the firm was at the centre of promoting quality project delivery in Nigeria. Mr Liu said CCECC that has through its projects in Abuja alone, sent 67 young Nigerian graduates to study railway engineering as a postgraduate course in China; helped set up the railway engineering department at the University of Abuja; created jobs for over 10,000 Nigerians and built a block of school in Mpape area of Abuja.
Liu said that the new Abuja airport terminal and the railway system linked to the airport is geared towards meeting global standards. “For my company, we will try to give Nigeria the best of quality projects”, he said.
Abuja’s major transport system can hardly meet the increasing public demand. There are about 130,000 commuting vehicles running in and and out of the city daily, approaching the capacity limits, according to official figures.
The volume of vehicles commuting on Abuja roads is expected to inch close to 180,000 by 2021. And the suggested solution is the urgent provision of the integrated transportation system.