Nigeria requires $40bn for rail projects- Transport Minister
Kaduna, Nigeria. Jan. 5, 2018 (AltAfrika)-The Federal Government needs about $40bn to complete some ongoing rail projects and embark on new ones, the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, has said.
Amaechi said although the money was not completely available at the moment, negotiations had commenced for the funding of some specific rail projects across the country.
Amaechi stated, “We will do everything possible to ensure that we complete the Lagos-Ibadan railway. We are already negotiating with contractors who will fund the project. If we are able to complete the arrangements, again taking into consideration the Nigerian law, we will start many of them (rail projects) this year.
“We need between $36bn and $40bn. Only God knows where we are going to get it. But I like to apply what I did as Rivers State governor. Whenever there is a project, we put on the table how much we have, we will just award the contract believing that God will do it for us.
“You will say that it is naive but at the end of the day, we got the money to pay the constructors.”
On the new locomotives and coaches inaugurated by President Muhammad Buhari, the minister explained that they would complement the existing ones and erase all forms of ticket racketeering on the route.
“I have said that we don’t have enough coaches, but now, we have four locomotives and 14 coaches. We now have enough to do Abuja-Kaduna non-stop and we also have train that can stop at every station and that will increase efficiency,” Amaechi stated.
The minister added that seven coaches were being expected and would be deployed in the Warri-Itakpe rail line, noting that the project should be completed by September 2018.
Amaechi said the Lagos-Ibadan project would be completed and inaugurated before the end of the first quarter of 2019, as the concession agreement for some narrow gauge rail lines would be signed before the end of March this year.
Buhari, who inaugurated the Abuja-Kaduna rail transport service in July 2016, stated that many Nigerians now preferred travelling by rail.
The President also stated that the government was perfecting policies that would enable private operators to take over the concession of some of the country’s narrow gauge rail lines.