By Adedapo Adesanya
The federal government has explained why the Ibadan to Kano rail line project was yet to be done despite being approved for construction one year ago.
The Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi, while speaking on NTA Weekend Deal Programme in Abuja on Saturday, disclosed that China was yet to make available to Nigeria the $5.3 billion to be used to finance the project.
He said the bilateral construction agreement between the Nigerian and Chinese governments through the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) Limited was yet to commence because the funds had not yet come in.
“We are waiting for the Chinese government and bank to approve the $5.3 billion to construct the Ibadan-Kano. What was approved a year ago was the contract.
“The moment I announced that the FG has awarded a contract of $5.3 billion to CCECC to construct Ibadan-Kano, they assume the money has come in, no.
“Up till now, we have not gotten the money a year after we have applied for the loan, we have almost finished the one of Lagos-Ibadan. If we don’t get the loan now, we can’t commence,” he said.
Mr Amaechi further stated that when the Ibadan-Kano rail would link six areas which are Kaduna-Kano-Abuja-Minna-Ilorin-Oshogbo-Ibadan where cargoes could be moved to Kano from Lagos.
Reacting on the issue of wet cargoes on the road causing accidents, he said that for now, cargoes can only go from Lagos to Ibadan.
He stated that when the Ibadan to Kano rail project is completed wet and dry cargoes can be transported from Lagos to Kano.
“Nigerians should be more patient with the Ministry of Transportation over the issue of wet cargoes. Currently, we are trying to construct the railway into the seaports to enable us to transport either wet or dry cargoes to various destinations, the only wet cargo that can go now is between Lagos to Ibadan.
“The moment we conclude that we will be able to move wet cargoes all the way to Kano from Lagos. We should also commence the construction of Port Harcourt to Maiduguri, and we should be able to move cargoes from Bonny to Maiduguri,” he said.
Speaking on the funding of the rail projects, the minister said that the Ministry of Finance was in charge of funding of those rail projects not the ministry of transportation, stating that they have the presidential approval to borrow money to fund projects.
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