Approves $195m to Secure Waterways
The Federal Government has said that it is negotiating a six-billion dollar($6b) loan with the Chinese government to complete the Ibadan to Kano rail line.
The Minister of Transportation Chibuike Amaechi who said this in Abuja at an interactive session with the media, noted that the total sum required to do a double track on the rail corridor is $8 billion.
He however stated that the Chinese are insisting on a single track as they cannot fund the double track.
According to him, “We are currently in negotiation with the China EXIM bank to get nearly about $6 billion to do from Ibadan to Kano. It is a difficult decision because the money required is about $8 billion to do the double track but the Chinese are insisting that they cannot fund double track so they are asking us to do a single track.
“They are asking us to do a single track and they want it at Minna so that instead of going from Minna to Kaduna, we should go from Minna to Abuja and then join it from Abuja to Kaduna. But there are those who argue that we should not accept that, rather we should tell them (Chinese) to fund it in segments. This, however, does not make economic sense.
“We are compelled to adjust just to have movement of goods, personnel and services from Lagos to Kano.What makes economic sense is the ability to get the track to a seaport so that we can move goods. What makes economic sense to rail services is the movement of goods,’’ Amaech said
The Minister further noted that talks are ongoing with some companies in America to fund the Lagos to Calabar rail corridor and another Chinese company to fund Port Harcourt to Maiduguri corridor.
Speaking on water transportation,Amaechi said that there is huge improvement in the sector, adding that the sum of $195 million has been approved by the Federal government to ensure maximum security and reduce crime in the waterways.
“The Federal Government has approved the sum of $195 million to hire an Israeli company to help train security personnel to man the waterways. Currently there are illegal activities in our waterways that is impacting on the goods. With that approval after we have put the processes in place, we will ensure that there is security in the water”.
On the Abuja Light Rail, the Minister advised the Federal Capital Territory Authority(FCTA), to keep Nigerian’s informed on the activities and how they can access the stations so as to maximally utilize the rail line as well as generate revenue for the government.