Kano State government has appealed to the government of China to assist in actualising the Kano city light rail project expected to gulp about $1.85 million.
The state acting governor, Hafiz Abubakar, who made the disclosure, while, receiving the Chinese ambassador to Nigeria, Zhou Pingjian at the Government House in Kano, said the state would be seeking assistance from China in financing the project.
He said the assistance would be sought under agreement outlined in China – Africa Cooperation Action Plan, which emphasises the development of infrastructure in African countries among other things.
According to Abubakar, 85 percent of the contract sum would be sourced from foreign loan while the balance of 15 percent would be sourced locally.
The acting governor, therefore, requested the Chinese government to facilitate the funds for the project from a Chinese bank in view of its viability.
“The rail, with a total length of about 73 kilometres, will crisscross Kano metropolitan and would be executed in four phases,” he stated, adding that feasibility studies had shown it was extremely viable while the contractor had expressed a lot of confidence in the ability of the state government to make the project a huge success.
The acting governor further requested the Chinese authorities to assist Kano in terms of agricultural productivity, in view of its huge untapped resources, pointing out that there was a lot of room for full-scale agricultural chain development in the state.
“We have the land and the largest water reservoir in the country. We have 23 big and small dams with a total of 3.3 billion cubic litres of fresh water which, in the past 40 years, have been seriously underutilised,” he said.
Regarding alternative energy, he maintained that scientific proof has shown that the state has the highest and most consistent level of radiation in Nigeria, hence potential for solar energy, adding that by its strategic geographic position, Kano has excellent prospect in terms of wind energy. Both energy sources, he noted, are key areas of feasible Chinese investment.
Professor Hafiz also tasked the Chinese government to fully support Nigeria to address its demographic, educational, economic diversification and other challenges, pointing out that China is a model for Nigeria in many respects.
In his remarks, the Chinese ambassador to Nigeria, Zhou Pingjian said Nigeria has a very competitive edge in agriculture and human resources, assuring that his country would support Nigeria to exploit its potential for accelerated development.
He said Nigeria must seize the opportunity of what he termed “China’s over capacity”, resulting in relocation to other places, to revamp its economy, pointing Chinese states and local governments are keen in investing in places such as Kano, for mutual benefit.
Chinese investors he added, are also willing to invest in the manufacturing sector of Nigeria’s economy as part of attempt to actualize resolutions of the China – Africa Cooperation Action Plan, and asserted that his country has a lot to offer, having been rated as the first in manufacturing in the world.