BY MARK ITSIBOR, Abuja
The integrated transport system that has been wrought in Abuja by the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) has become a standard or sample that what Nigeria has been neglecting – investing in transport infrastructure, is where its future and economic growth lies, so said Afri-China media centre.
The group made the remarks at the public presentation of a book on Abuja Integrated Mass Transport System yesterday in Abuja. The group said the Abuja integrated transport system should be replicated in other parts of Nigeria to make the subnational governments attractive to investors.
Executive director of the centre, Ikenna Emewu said with a population of about 200 million people and target of growing her economy, it would be futile that Nigeria relies on just road transport to ease movement of people and goods, with a focus on growing the economy. “It wouldn’t lead the country anywhere towards economic advancement” Africa-China media centre said in the book that would soon be published,” he stated.
The centre opined that the Abuja integrated mass transport project is a prove 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, the group said 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.
Speaking at the book presentation, director in charge of corporate communication in CCECC, Vincent Liu said CCECC is at the centre of promoting quality project delivery in Nigeria. Mr Liu said CCECC has through its projects in Abuja alone, sent 67 young Nigerian graduates to study railway engineering as postgraduate course in China; helped set up railway engineering department at the University of Abuja; created jobs for over 10,000 Nigerians and built a block of school in Papei area of Abuja.
Liu said 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.”
According to reports, road, Abuja’s major transport system can hardly meet the increasing public demand. There are about 130,000 commuting vehicles running in out 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.
“Nigeria’s economy is where it is because of the extent of its transport development and would move forward when adequate premium is placed on a turnaround of the sector,” it Afri-China centre said, adding that “Nigeria has prospects in the transport sector, but that depends on how we manage it.”