The Ghana Railway Development Authority which was established by the Ghana Railway Act of 2008 ( unlike our moribund act of 1955 that drives the Nigerian rail system ) has a master plan of modernizing the country’s rail network and addition of 4000km new networks to it .
As part of delivering this master plan in organized and properly articulated arrangement that does not put a strain on the nation”s balance sheet, and realizing the fiscal revenue limitation of the country; the GDRA has concluded plans to execute a reconstruction of its rail network running from Accra to Kumasi.
This rail network project which has a total track length of 330km and the gauge is 1,067 mm shall be executed under a 25-30 year Private sector led Build Operate and Transfer (BOT) arrangement.
The project is envisaged to cost $1bn-$1.2bn that is fully private sector funded.
To this end, 6 out of 45 companies who come from the USA, France, Germany, China and Ghana, after a transparent tender / bid process , have been shortlisted and sent to a tender review committee for further evaluation and once approved, they would settle on the preferred contractor for the project to be executed under a BOT scheme to construct this first 330km stage of the Eastern rail project that will link Accra to Kumasi from Achimota to the Tema Port.
The this first phase/stage of 330km will include financing, development and operation of the line. It will also include the provision of rolling stock, station upgrades, signaling and communication equipment.
The construction of the new 4000km Eastern rail schemes will be carried out in six stages and will be done on a Build, Operate and Transfer (BOT) basis.
This is Ghana that has just 92,000 square miles Land mass and population of 28m , already mapped out plans to add 4000km of new rail network under a transparently driven and managed PPP arrangements
HERE IN NIGERIA, Buhari/FEC wants to borrow additional $3.5billion/N1.26trillion and handover to Rotimi Amaechi on top of the already over stretched national debt burden of over N28trillion to fund public sector driven rail projects that will be steeped in corruption, perfidy and sleaze, just like his abandoned metro rail project in PH after guzzling N33.9bn/$212m . God forbid!!!.
With the current federal government personnel cost of N2.2trillion, debt interest service obligation of N2.6-2.8trillion annually and other overhead cost of more than N1trillion against a potential /expected fiscal revenue of N3.8-4.5trillion , Nigeria is already in serious fiscal crises.
Based, on the current fiscal deformities in Nigeria today, for anyone to even conceive or mute the idea of putting additional debt burden of $3.5billion/N3.5 trillion on Nigeria balance sheet for a project that can easily be executed under unique variants of PPPs is sheer insanity and wickedness.
For the umpteenth time, I wish to emphatically restate and reassert that Nigeria can easily attract over $36-40billion in huge global private sector driven investments to develop the whole rail value chain under robust PPP architectures if we have sincere, honest, passionately creative, dedicated and altruistic Patriots to drive our Transport Ministry and Key MDAs .
If we refuse to learn from the UK , Singapore, UAE etc, then, let’s just cover our faces in shame and cross over to ghana to learn. Shame no dey catch us at all?
If Buhari honestly and sincerely desire to connect every part of Nigeria through robust rail network coverage, we can help him to design, structure, finance and implement a process and system that works , which is majorly private sector funded without any public sector looting .
NIGERIA HAS DEEP AND RICH HUMAN CAPITAL BASE, WHO ARE HERE, CAPABLE, READY AND WILLING TO HELP.
Buhari should immediately sack all those, unthinking and selfish herds, he surrounded himself with. Folks, who have brains but cannot use it well.
God please help us
Dr Nnaemeka Onyeka Obiaraeri, FICA, MIRA