President Yemi Osinbajo, yesterday said at least $2billion, about N720 billion would be required to revive the Lagos-Kano Rail Line project, declaring that for Nigeria to achieve meaningful growth in commerce and economic development, Lagos and Kano states must be greatly considered.
Osinbajo said the project was part of efforts to boost local and international trade along the northern and southern zones.
This came as Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos said for Nigeria to get out of its current economic challenges it must embark on economic restructuring.
Osinbajo and Ambode, spoke at the inaugural edition of the Lagos-Kano Economic and Investment Summit, at the Jubilee Chalets in Epe, Lagos.
Osinbajo said the Federal Government in partnership with a private firm, General Electric (GE) had proposed to invest in the project to enhance the movement of cargo from Apapa ports to Kano via the rail line.
The Vice President who commended the Lagos and Kano State Governors for creating a platform to collaborate for economic growth, expressed optimism that such initiative would open up the investment opportunities that abound in both states to would-be investors both locally and internationally.
According to him, “I believe that Lagos and Kano States have by this collaboration underscored the cornerstone of the Federal Government’s economic recovery and growth plan, namely the leveraging of synergies among States and between government and the private sector.
“The strategic role of the federal government is of course to create an enabling environment for commerce beginning with the provision of infrastructure. For us, what this meant especially in the context of Lagos and Kano collaboration is the refurbishing of the narrow gauge Lagos to Kano Rail with a concession to General Electric who is proposing to invest almost $2billion to ensure that the rail route is effective for movement of cargo from Apapa port to Kano.
“Similarly, we are investing in the Lagos to Kano standard gauge line, the Lagos Ibadan portion of that is expected to be ready by the end of this year. Also, we have budgeted N80 billion for the development of special economic zones in the six geo-political zones of the country.”
Speaking, Ambode said the decision of the state government to join the Oodua Investment Group triggered what evolved over the last two years to become a signpost for effective partnership between Lagos and other states.
He said with the current economic challenges facing the nation, there was no better time for states to begin to look beyond an oil driven economy and take advantage of their comparative advantages to engender economic growth.
On his part, president of Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote commended the partnership between both States, just as he said that Lagos has clearly demonstrated its readiness for serious investments.