Abuja Light Rail Mass Transit. Test Run Begins Nov – Minister. The FCT Minister, Muhammad Bello says the contractor handling the Abuja Light Rail Mass Transit is expected to complete work on the project by October while the FCT Administration will commence the test run of the Rail Mass Transit by the middle of November 2017. By December 2017, the FCT Administration also intends to temporarily open the rail services for the Lots 1A and 3 to the general public for usage.
He disclosed this while receiving a delegation of the Federation of Tourism Associations of Nigeria, FTAN, led by its President, Tomilola Akingbogun, that paid him a visit in his office at Area 11, Garki I District, Abuja.
According to him, the full operation of the Abuja Rail Mass Transit would commence by the first quarter of 2018 as earlier announced.
On the problem of multiple taxations in the Federal Capital Territory, Mr. Bello reiterated that a committee is already working to address it.
He said that the participation of private investors in the development and economic activities of the Federal Capital Territory is paramount for better results and therefore the knotty issues of multiple taxations must be tackled to encourage them.
The minister emphasised that tourism must also be given its rightful place for private investors to take the front seat in order to stimulate economic activities in the territory.
His words: “Nigeria is truly endowed and the FCT Administration will surely leverage on such endowment to fast track its economic development.”
Mr. Bello urged the players in the tourism and hospitality industry to make attempts for establishment of small hotels like ‘Bed & Breakfast’ in the Federal Capital Territory to cater for the numerous daily visitors into Abuja, particularly for those at the lower ladder.
Earlier in his remarks, the President of the Federation of Tourism Associations of Nigeria, Mr. Akingbogun, said the FTAN is the umbrella body representing all tourism trades, businesses and associations in Nigeria.
He called on governments at all levels to encourage Public-Private-Partnership options in developing tourism in Nigeria.
He lamented on the problems of multiple taxations between the FCT Administration and the Abuja Municipal Area Council, AMAC, and appealed on the need to harmonise all rates, tariffs and levies introduced.
The FCT Permanent Secretary, Babatope Ajakaiye, and other senior officials of the FCT Administration joined the minister in receiving the delegation.
The billion dollar, approximately 60.67 kilometer metro style Abuja Light Rail under construction since 2007 by China Civil Engineering And Construction Company (CCECC) though it’s China Railway Engineering Corporation division, is financed in part through a concessional loan of 500 million dollars from the China Exim Bank.
Abuja is the capital city of Nigeria, located in the centre of the country, with some 2.5 million people. An estimated 700,000 passengers are projected to ride the Abuja Light Rail (ALR) on daily basis, when the first phase of the project takes off. The plan is to eventually link Abuja with satellite towns such as Nyanya, Kubwa, Mararaba and Lugbe.
Ethiopia’s Addis Light Rail Transit (AA-LRT) became the first light rail public transport system in sub Saharan Africa as Nigeria’s Abuja Light Rail, whose construction began in 2007, struggled to see completion.
The Ethiopian government borrowed the funds in June 2011 from the Export-Import Bank of China at the 6-month Libor interest rate plus 2.6 percent and a grace period of three years, according to Ethiopian Finance Ministry data. State-owned contractor China Railway Engineering Corp. was the recipient of the export financing and completed construction in less than two years.
According to China Railway Engineering Corporation, CREC the Addis Light Rail Transit system carried on average 113,500 daily passengers in January 2016 with 153,000 passengers as highest passenger load during a single day. Service frequency was 10 minutes during peak hours on both lines and 20 minutes during off-peak hours.