Funds obstructing commencement of Ibadan-Kaduna rail project, says Amaechi
THE Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi has revealed that funding has hindered the commencement of Ibadan-Kaduna rail project even though the contract agreement for the construction of the rail route has been signed months ago.
Amaechi while speaking with the media in Warri stated that the contract is to be funded by a loan the country was expecting from China Exim Bank, “but unfortunately the loan did not come through, and it affected the commencement of the project due to non-availability of funds.
“We have signed the contract but we are yet to get the loan, its a bit difficult for us, we are pushing so hard to get the loan this year. Honestly its one of things I will put before the president. The loan is about $6.7billion but when we met with the China Exim bank they wanted to reduce it. But whatever happens, we will put it before the President so that he can put it before the China Exim bank when he goes there.”
He stated that the Ministry was funding some of the rail projects, “Government is funding this rail line (Itakpe-Warri) and also the completion of the Abuja-Kaduna rail line. The total money for the rehabilitation of Itakpe-Warri rail line may come down to $1billion.”
“The contract sum of $121million is a loan to CCECC to rehabilitate the vandalized portion of Itakpe to Ajaokuta. The rail line has been in existence for over 30years but unfortunately, it has been vandalized, so the contract was not only to relay the tracks but to also do sidings that enable train move at both direction.”
“The Chinese government gave us a loan of $500million and government is bringing a counterpart fund of $500million. We also awarded $500 million for coaches, initially the China Exim bank was ready to give us the money but the China Exim Bank turned it down and said we should fund it ourselves.”
“Under the contract, CCECC agreed to build a factory for manufacturing wagons. We told them that they cannot just dump something on us and go, so we are insisting they start manufacturing locomotives and wagons in Nigeria. But they said its very expensive to establish a factory to manufacture locomotives but they will start with wagons.”
The Minister continued that “we are yet to select the yard, some people are of the opinion that Ajaokuta would be the best place because of the iron ore, others think that we have a workshop in Zaria that can contain all this but we are not building it in Zaria, we will decide that before I leave office.”
Amaechi said Abuja-Kaduna rail has employed over 150 people, noting further that when the other rail lines are completed, more people in the country will be gain employment.