The Minister of Transportation, Mu’azu Jaji Sambo, has said that the Federal government is looking at securing multi-billion dollar loans from financial institutions in China, Portugal and Turkey to fund the completion of the ongoing rail projects across the country.
Sambo stated this when he appeared before the joint National Assembly Committee on Land and Marine Transport, chaired by Senator Danjuma Goje. He explained that the ministry was committed to the implementation of the Nigeria Railway Modernisation project.
According to him, the railway network was being progressively expanded through yearly budgetary appropriations since the federal government was facing challenges in securing counterpart funding through loans.
“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 the 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 construction of overpass bridges, connection to the national grid and other ancillary provisions had to be completed.
The minister lamented the sad occurrence on the Abuja – Kaduna Rail incident earlier in the year and said plans were ongoing to resume service there.
“With the release of those abducted, the Ministry plans to commence operation on the line, but not without taking proper precaution.”
He explained that necessary security gadgets would be installed to monitor the line and forestall a reoccurrence.