FG Seeks Loans from China, Portugal, Turkey for Rail Projects

November 4, 2022
red line rail projects

By Adedapo Adesanya

The federal government is seeking to expand its borrowing to complete ongoing rail projects across the country with multi-billion dollar loans from financial institutions based in China, Portugal, and Turkey.

The Minister of Transportation, Mr Mu’azu Jaji Sambo, stated this when he appeared before the joint National Assembly Committee on Land and Marine Transport, chaired by Senator Danjuma Goje on Thursday.

He explained that the ministry was committed to the implementation of the Nigeria Railway Modernisation project but expanded that since the government was facing challenges in securing counterpart funding through loans.

The Minister said, “Currently, the implementation of the Kaduna-Kano, Port Harcourt to Maiduguri and Kano – Maradi Segments of the Railway Modernisation is ongoing with the federal government counterpart funding in the 2022 appropriation.

“The ministry hopes that the Federal Ministry of Finance concludes negotiation of the loans with infrastructure development finance institutions of Chinese, Portuguese and Turkish origin to implement the projects.

“To ensure finalising and signing of the loan agreements, evidence of source of funding of the balance of the advance payment and other aspects of work to be financed directly by the federal government has to be made available to these financial institutions through adequate budgetary provisions in the year 2023 budget and subsequent budgets.”

He also said the Lagos – Ibadan segment of the Lagos – Kano, and Itakpe to Warri railway projects were fully operational and receiving patronage from the general public.

To reach practical completion on the projects, the minister said some aspects of works, including the construction of overpass bridges, connection to the national grid, and other ancillary provisions had to be completed.

Mr Sambo said, “Adequate funds need to be provided in the 2023 budget to facilitate the practical completion of the projects.”

The Minister explained that necessary security gadgets would be installed to monitor the line and forestall a reoccurrence.

He told the lawmakers that his ministry had proposed a total capital budget of N92.3 billion and overhead of N382.2 million, adding that the total capital appropriation of the ministry for 2022 was N147.5 billion, out of which N52.1 billion, representing 35.33 per cent had been released to date.

Mr Sambo said N38.9 billion had been utilised as of October 25, 2022. In addition, the sum of N358.8 million was appropriated for overhead expenditure, out of which N209.3 million was released. He added the sum of N180.6 million of the released amount was expended as of October 25, 2022.

The Chairman of the Joint National Assembly Committee on Land and Marine Transport expressed concern over the extension of the implementation of the capital component of the yearly budget beyond each fiscal year.

“The extension of the implementation of the capital component of the annual budget by three months had defeated the success recorded by the 9th National Assembly to reverse the country’s budget cycle from January to December,” he said.

Adedapo Adesanya

Adedapo Adesanya is a journalist, polymath, and connoisseur of everything art. When he is not writing, he has his nose buried in one of the many books or articles he has bookmarked or simply listening to good music with a bottle of beer or wine. He supports the greatest club in the world, Manchester United F.C.

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