The current administration in Lagos State has spent up to 200 million euros on the first phase of the ongoing light rail project in the state, popularly known as Blue Line.
The Lagos State Commissioner for Transportation, Ladi Lawanson, made the disclosure in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos on Thursday.
The Blue Line Light Rail runs from Badagry in the western flank of Lagos to Marina on the Lagos Island.
Lawanson said the administration of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode had spent between 100 million euros and 200 million euros since it inherited the project from the previous administration.
He said that putting finances together was one of the challenges faced by the government in the implementation of the project, which started in 2008.
He said: “The government was mindful not to go into deep borrowing which will become an albatross on the state’s neck.
“That is why we try to look inwards for most of the finances.
“A huge component of the financing is coming from internally-generated revenue and the foreign exchange component was sought through an export credit agency low-interest funding.’’
Lawanson said that putting funds together, providing independent power system and bringing all the technical components of the project together had pushed the completion date of the project to 2022.
He said: “To make the rail system to work, you need uninterrupted power.
“The state government has to provide an independent power system to ensure that the system will run uninterruptedly.
“Bringing all the technical components of the project together is what we are saying. Realistically, it not feasibly to have it before 2022. We have to test-run it.’’
The commissioner said that the government had since signed a memorandum of understanding with a French firm, Alstom, to complete the project after a technical review.
Lawanson said: “The administration reached out to the reputable company to take the project from where it was, to completion.
“Before now, what was done was civil works.’’
He noted that other components, including signal, electrical and rolling stock had not been covered.
He said: “Alstom is very good in the different aspects of the technologies required to make it a success.’’
On the Red Line aspect of the project, also referred to as phase two, which will run from Marina to Agabado in the northern flank of Lagos, Lawanson said that discussions with potential partners and financiers had commenced.
He said: “Putting a rail project together requires a lot of patience and resourcefulness in terms of financing – where the financing will come from and who we are going to use.
“We just finished the procurement stage of the Blue Line, but we can tell you that we are in discussion with potential partners and financiers for the Red Line.
“However, no entity has been committed.”
He re-stated that the Red Line would be the second stage of the project.
Lawanson added: “It is meant to cover the most densely populated parts of Lagos State.
“We expect that it would have the biggest impact in terms of number of people to be conveyed.’’