From Desmond Mgboh/Kano
Kano State Government has appealed to the Peoples Republic of China to assist in its city light rail project, expected to gulp $1.85 million.
Acting Governor, Prof. Hafiz Abubakar, who made the call when he received the Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Zhou Pingjian, at the Government House, in Kano, explained that the assistance is against the backdrop of the China–Africa Cooperation Action Plan, outlined in Johannesburg, in 2015.
The plan emphasises infrastructure development in African countries, among other things.
Abubakar explained that 85 percent of the contract sum would be sourced from foreign loan while 15 percent balance would be sourced locally. He pleaded with the Chinese government to facilitate funds for the project from a Chinese bank. “The rail, with a total length of about 73 kilometers, will crisscross Kano metropolis which would be executed in four phases,” Hafiz said.
He also added that, “the contractor has expressed confidence in the ability of the state government to make the project a huge success.”
The Acting governor further requested Chinese authorities to assist Kano in agricultural productivity, “in view of its huge untapped resources” and pointed out that “there is a lot of room for full-scale agricultural chain development in the state. We have the land and the largest water reservoir in the country. We have 23 big and small dams with a total of 3.3 billion cubic liters of fresh water which, in the past 40 years, have been seriously underutilised.”
On alternative energy, Abubakar said “scientific proof has shown that the state has the highest and most consistent level of radiation in Nigeria…”
Prof. Hafiz also tasked the Chinese government to fully support Nigeria to address its demographic, educational, economic diversification and other challenges, pointing out that China is a model for Nigeria in many respects.
In his remarks, the Chinese ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Zhou Pingjian said Nigeria has a very competitive edge in agriculture and human resources, assuring that his country would support Nigeria to exploit its potential for accelerated development.
He said Nigeria must seize the opportunity of what he termed “China’s over capacity”, resulting in relocation to other places, to revamp its economy, pointing Chinese states and local governments are keen in investing in places such as Kano, for mutual benefit.
Chinese investors he added, are also willing to invest in the manufacturing sector of Nigeria’s economy as part of attempt to actualize resolutions of the China – Africa Cooperation Action Plan, and asserted that his country has a lot to offer, having been rated as the first in manufacturing in the world.