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Lagos Blue Line rail project may not be ready until 2022

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Indications have emerged that the Lagos Blue Line rail project may not be ready until 2022.

Following a comprehensive review of the rail project, which ought to have commenced passenger operation but had been hindered by unforeseen third party issues and other challenges, the State Government said the Marina to Mile 2 section of the project known as the Blue Line Rail, would now be ready for passenger operation by 2022.

Details of this development form part of the revelations made at the signing of a major agreement between the Lagos State government and Alstom SA of France on the Lagos Rail Mass Transit (LRMT) project. The exercise is a renewed effort to rev up the multi-modal transport system in the State.

Officials of the State government had noted that consultants it engaged to carry out a technical review and due diligence on the implementation of the project, which substantially had focused on civil works, and reported back to government that operation of the first phase may only commence in 2022.

Speaking at the signing of the agreement with Alstom SA, Managing Director of Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (LAMATA), Mr. Abiodun Dabiri, who signed on behalf of the State Government, said the partnership was the result of the commitment of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode towards the transformation of public transportation in the State.

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According to him, “Based on the final report submitted, the consortium of Alstom Transport SA France has been engaged for the procurement, engineering, construction, installation of Operation & Maintenance (O&M) moveable infrastructure and commissioning of railway systems towards the commencement of passenger operations for LRMT Blue Line project from Marina to Mile 2.”

“For this purpose, a track length of about 3.0 km from Iganmu Station to National Theatre will be electrified. This operation would be done with the rolling stocks already supplied for the Blue Line project.

“This phase would allow the completion of all the preliminary works that would lead to the financing of the main works in Phase two. Phase one will be fully financed by Lagos State Government through Internally Generated Revenue (IGR).

“Phase two, which is expected to be completed in 39 months, would entail the provision and installation of railway operations’ systems for the project from Marina to Mile 2 and the delivery of a passenger-ready Lagos Blue Rail Line by 2022,” he said.

Responding, Mr. Guy Jean-Pierre, a Director of Alstom SA, thanked the State Government for the confidence reposed in the firm and the opportunity given to partner with the State on the Blue Line Rail project.

He assured that Alstom would work to ensure the delivery of the Blue Line to passenger operation by bringing on board required expertise and experience in rail system management.

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Nigerien President, Mohamed Bazoum wants employment quotas for African immigrants

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Niger’s President Mohamed Bazoum wants employment quotas for African immigrants tailored to job needs from European countries.

President Bazoum made the position in an interview with an Italian newspaper, La Repubblica. on Friday.

The president’s argument is that the quota will address European countries’ needs for its labour market and could help resolve the problem of illegal migration and human trafficking.

“In France, Spain, and Italy you have many jobs in sectors of employment where Africans can work,” Bazoum said.

“These numbers need to be established, country by country, and then the consulates entrusted with the responsibility of enforcing them.”

Surveys of African migrants in or heading toward Europe reveal that the majority were either employed or in school at the time of their departure. Yet, they felt despair over their economic prospects.

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IMF Chief, Ceyla Pazarbasioglu, to visit China over Africa’s growing debt profile

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As the debt profile of many African countries continues to rise, the International Monetary Fund strategy chief, Ceyla Pazarbasioglu will travel to China next week for another high-level meeting.

Her travel is part of efforts to press the world’s largest sovereign creditor for quicker progress on debt restructurings for countries in need.

The IMF chief had called for debt restructuring arrangements for Zambia and Chad to be completed shortly.

Pazarbasioglu said it was critical to move forward and that “outreach to China next week is very important, at the highest levels.”

“It’s moving – very slowly, but it’s moving,” Pazarbasioglu said, noting that the participation of mining company Glencore Plc in the Chad treatment was also “a very good sign” that “even the most difficult private sector participants” were participating.

She said the Paris Club of official bilateral creditors had taken years to hammer out their debt relief processes, and China was learning, although she noted that the debt issues facing borrowing countries now were acute.

“The problem we have is that we don’t have that time right now because these countries are very fragile and dealing with debt vulnerabilities,” she said. “What we need is speed.”

Pazarbasioglu said the IMF would continue to press for changes to the Common Framework, including a freeze in debt payments when countries apply for a debt treatment, as well as clearer procedures and timelines for action, and ensuring comparable treatment for private creditors.

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