by Opeoluwa Quadri
The Lagos light rail project which started in 2008 and estimated to be completed in 2011 is yet to see the light of the day. It is an ambitious project that will increase the economic advantage of the state. Yet there are grey areas in the project that are not known to the public. These are three things you might never know about the project:
- The exact cost of the Project: The amount the state has spent so far on the project is in not known. Seventy billion naira was approved for the construction of the project in 2008. There is however no doubt that the state has spent more than that amount to get the project to its present state. In a state where the details of government spending is a well guided secret and demanding for it makes the government paranoid, it is definitely difficult to get such data.
2 The time the project will be completed: The light rail project has been postponed for four times, the project was initially meant for completion in 2011, but was delayed due to funds. The then governor then set another completion date of June, 2013 which was also not achieved. Fashola in January 2015 then conceded that the light rail project which his administration started will not be completed because he has just 121 days left, he said the project will be completed by his successor. Gov Ambode then promised in the February 2016 during the 5th Lagos Corporate Assembly that the project will be completed in December 2016. Again this was not achieved. However a report on Business Day stated that the project can no longer meet the December last year completion date, and that the project will not completed until the middle of 2017. But even now, the light rail project still remain elusive.
3 The amount of debt Lagos has incurred on the project: The figure is sketchy, and in the real sense of it, there are no accurate figures out there backed up by official documents. Report in the media estimates the debt incurred on the project at about N160BN. But we cannot be sure of this. The exact amount of fund borrowed to finance the yet to be completed project is also well kept secret.