Economist tasks Lagos State Government on light rail project

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Prof. Sheriffdeen Tella of the Economics Department, Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye, Ogun state, on Monday, urged the Lagos State Government to reprioritize ongoing projects to avoid losses and reduce the risk of abandonment.

He told news reporters in Lagos, South-West Nigeria, that the state would derive maximum benefits by reprioritizing the Lagos Light rail and other projects.

Tella was reacting to the announcement that work would commence on the abandoned the light rail project in 2022.

“This is saddening given the multiplier effects the completion of the project will have on industrialization in the Badagry axis, employment and income for citizens through the construction sector and the state’s tax revenue,”  Tella said.

He said governance should be about development and the people, and that uncompleted projects by one government should be completed by succeeding government.

Tella said the state government should attempt to complete the Lagos Island to Mile 2 phase of the project by 2019, if the problem had to do with funds.

He said the state government should complete and launch it, while re-negotiating the remaining distance on build-operate and transfer with the Chinese company.

“Funds generated from the completed section can be used to offset debt incurred on it.

“The state will also avoid the higher cost the delay of the project will bring in the future, in which case the state will still have to pay the Chinese firm a sum of money for the abandoned project,”  Tella said.

The Lagos State Government recently signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with a French multinational, Alstom SA to complete the rail project.

The state government said that MoU was signed after a technical review of its light rail (blue line) project.

The state government said Marina to Mile 2 phase of the 27-kilometre project might take off in 2022 with the MoU it just signed with Alstom, a firm with 100 years of railway experience covering 60 countries.

Amaka E. Nliam