By Chris OCHAYI
A SUM of N150 billion (about $100 million ) would be required to successfully execute the proposed construction of Trans-Saharan Highway project.
The Secretary General, Trans-Saharan Road Liaison Committee, Mr.Mohammed Ayadi said the road would link Nigeria with five African countries.
Mr. Ayadi who disclosed this while speaking at the 53rd Session of Trans-Saharan Liaison Committee in Abuja, said that the organisation is currently working on the modalities to raise the fund needed to finance the project.
Mr. Ayadi who explained that the organisation would conclude its evaluation of the project before the first quarter of 2011, noted that the objective of the project was to enhance easy movement of goods and persons within the sub-region and also increase the volume of trade among member countries.
The Trans-Saharan Highway which traverses six countries in the Sub-Saharan region including, Nigeria, Niger Republic, Chad, Mali, Algeria and Tunisia has the main axis starting from Lagos on the West Atlantic Coast and terminates at Algiers on the Mediterranean Coast of North Africa.
The highway will have a total length of about 4,680km.
“As part of our agenda, we will estimate the progress of the branches of the Trans-Saharan Road in each country for mutual information, to share experiences and to define what we have to do between the sessions,” he said.
He stated that: “The mission of evaluation of the backers envisaged at the end of November was differed to the first quarter of 2011”
Speaking on the progress of work done so far, Ayadi said: “ The Trans-African axis, Algiers-Lagos covering about 4500km is now entirely bituminised except the last section of 223km in Niger between the Algerian border and the town of Arit.
“Algeria constructed the remaining 400km between Niger border and the city of Tamanrasset. Niger also constructed the missing section of 100km between Agadez and Zender. Nigeria has bitiminized the 1300km located on its territory”.
In his remarks, Works Minister, Senator Sanusi Daggash, said that a budgetary constraints has denied Nigeria the opportunity to meet its financial obligation on the project.
He added that, “Nigeria completed the development of its own section which is 1131km and has even started dualising some sections of the road.
Represented by the Director, Human Resources in the Ministry, Mr. Olu Adeyemi, the Minister explained that despite this achievement, Nigeria is still indebted to the committee in terms of payment of dues.