Lack of funding delays Lagos-Ibadan rail project ― Amaechi

The Minister of Transportation, Hon. Rotimi Amaechi has attributed funding problem for the slow pace of work at the ongoing construction of Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge railway.

The minister stated this late on Friday while inspecting the Lagos-Ibadan railway project barely three days after his re-appointment.

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Amaechi stressed that the slow pace of work was as a result of the previous cabinet being dissolved because their tenure had elapsed and there was no minister to approve the payment of funds to the contractor.

He added that the issue would be resolved as soon as possible so that they can continue with their construction.

The 157km Lagos-Ibadan rail project was awarded in 2017 to the Chinese Civil Engineering Construction Company (CCECC) to the tune of $1.6 billion with a three years completion agreement.

According to him, “Our target is that they should hurry and get into the seaport so that they can evacuate the goods at the port and at least reduce what people refer to as Apapa gridlock.

“That can only happen when goods begin to be evacuated by train.

“We have also agreed with them to have between September and October two major groundbreaking ceremonies.

“Firstly, the University of Transportation, Daura which is going to be in September and then an equipment manufacturing plant at Kajola in October.”

Amaechi insisted that Nigeria cannot continue to manufacture coaches locomotive and wagons in China, and that is why a factory has been built in Kajola in Ogun State temporarily to manufacture wagons to produce locomotives and coaches as part of the benefits of the contract with the CCECC.

Speaking further on Ibadan-Kano project, the Honourable Minister of Transportation explained that, “I can tell you that on our side, we are ready. We are just waiting for the China NEXIM bank to approve the loan. If the loan is approved, we will commence construction.”