Rotimi Amaechi, the Minister of Transportation has stated that for him to connect the entire nation by rail, he will be needing $36bn to execute it.
Speaking on NTA’s “Good Morning Nigeria’ programme, monitored by the Punch on Friday, Amaechi noted that railway is capital intensive and because of that, private firms find it difficult to invest in the sector.
On why the Nigerian government had been borrowing funds from overseas, the Minister explained that it was only the government that was able to come up with the needed collateral to take such loans.
When Amaechi was asked why the Kaduna-Abuja railway had not been linked to Lokoja, he responded, “If we had money, I would want to be the minister that initiated and completed the linking of Nigeria. All I need is $36bn. With $36bn, all of them (will be linked).
“The project from Itakpe to Abuja is $3.09bn. If we have that, we will start it tomorrow morning.”
Minister Amaechi, who was the former governor of Rivers State said that President Muhammadu Buhari, had done exceedingly well in the area of infrastructure but expressed fear that the gains of the Buhari administration would be reversed if the Peoples Democratic Party takes over in 2023.
He described Buhari as a unique President for the fact that he did not cancel former President Goodluck Jonathan’s projects but decided to continue them for the benefit of Nigerians.
As of March 31, 2020, Nigeria had borrowed $3.12bn from China. The concessional loans are tied to several rail projects.
The projects include the Nigerian Railway Modernisation Project (Idu-Kaduna section); Abuja Light Rail Project; Four Airport Terminals Expansion Project (Abuja, Kano, Lagos and Port Harcourt); Nigerian Railway Modernisation Project (Lagos-Ibadan section) and Rehabilitation and Upgrading of Abuja-Keffi-Makurdi Road Project.
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