Victorine BIY NFOR/Cameroon-Tribune

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Activities of the Ad hoc Committee were launched in Yaounde yesterday.

The Inter-ministerial Ad hoc Committee in charge of drawing up of an Investment Plan for Phase Two, PQ2, of the project to modernize railway infrastructure has three months to submit the final document. The task was handed down to the committee by the President of the Inter-ministerial Committee in charge of Railway Infrastructure, COMIFER, who is also the Minister of Transport, Prof. Robert Nkili. He told committee members that they have until December 2015 to submit a feasibility report on the 2016-2020 investment plan.

Brighter Days Ahead!

The context of railway infrastructure development in Cameroon has changed, with the country rejoicing over the ownership of a railway master plan. It provides for the extension of the country’s railway line to neighbouring Chad. There is also need to connect the Kribi Deep Seaport to mineral production zones. The Ad hoc Committee therefore has the daunting task of drawing up an investment programme on railway infrastructure, equipment and logistics to meet demand.

The Committee is also expected to propose the allocation of investment resources between government and the country’s railway concession, Bolloré Group subsidiary, Cameroon Railways, Camrail. Also of concern is the need for the committee to provide an update of previous contractual obligations of the State and the concessioner as well at the State engineer. Meanwhile, four sub-commissions with focus on infrastructure, movable equipment, financial as well as contractual commitments between Cameroon and Camrail, have been put in place.

Lofty Balance Sheet

The first Railway Investment Plan, PQ1, was from 2009-December 2013. The project sourced FCFA 101 billion against contractual engagements of FCFA 103 billion, with financial commitments evaluated at 96 per cent. The yield on the government side was lofty, with Prof. Robert Nkili revealing that 40 passenger coaches and vans were purchased of the planned 53.

Over 25 km of the 175 km on the Batchenga-Ka’a rail line were rehabilitated during PQ1, though it has since increased to 60 km. Cameroon Railway Company, Camrail, purchased 50 platform wagons and refurbished goods transportation equipment, acquired 25 petroleum wagons, eight new locomotives and rehabilitated equipment for transporting merchandise, amongst others. The overall investment plan to span 2009 to 2020 is evaluated at FCFA 230 billion.