Emmanuel Addeh in Abuja
The federal government has disclosed that a whopping sum of $656million is still required to complete work on the Lagos-Ibadan railway project.
The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi gave this figure while defending the 2021 budget of the ministry before the National Assembly Joint Committee on Land and Marine Transport on Friday.
During the budget defence, the minister said the amount “is needed to put in place necessary infrastructures for the project to serve its intended purpose.”
He said the Ibadan-Kano railway project also required an injection of $645.3million as advance payment to enable the Federal Government complete its loan-signing agreement with the China Exim Bank.
He said: “Under the railway modern programme, I am happy to report that the construction of Lagos – Ibadan standard gauge line has reached 92 per cent project completion.”
He, however, said some aspects of works involving construction of upgraded railway stations, signaling and telecommunication system, power supply scheme and construction of pedestrian and overpass bridges have to be completed.
He added that these aspects had to be completed for the project to achieve full loan drawdown from our co-financier, China EXIM Bank, and attain practical completion for it to be used for the intended purpose.
He said: “This additional and extra work amounting to $656million, which is to be financed 100 per cent by the Federal Government of Nigeria, has been approved by the Federal Executive Council for implementation.
“Similarly, for the implementation of the Ibadan-Kano railway which is the outstanding segment of the Lagos-Kano railway project, one of the conditions precedent to signing of the loan agreement is the release of advance payment in the sum of US$864million.
“Out of which the government has released the sum of $218.7million as part payment leaving a balance of $644.3million,” the minister said.
He said that the ministry plans to complete the fencing of the Abuja-Kaduna railway line for security purposes.
He said that the Itakpe-Ajaokuta-Warri railway project, which was recently commissioned by President Muhammadu Buhari, still has an outstanding amount to be paid on the project.
The former governor of Rivers State said the ministry would commence the reconstruction and rehab of the Port-Harcourt-Maiduguri (Eastern Narrow Gauge railways) next year.
He said that the construction of the central railway from Itakpe to Abuja and a 378 kilometres single track standard gauge rail line traversing Kano-Katsina-Jibiya with a 20-kilometre extension to Maradi in Niger Republic has been slated for next year.