Amaechi says funding may hamper completion of Kano-Kaduna rail project
By Peter Usman://
Minister of Transportation, Hon. Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi has said that inadequate funding may be an impediment to the completion of the ongoing Kano-Kaduna Standard Rail Gauge pegged at $1.2billion.
The Minister also revealed that the Federal Government has injected over $400million into the project slated for completion in May 2023.
Amaechi, who was speaking with Journalists in an interview during the inspection tour of the project, noted that if the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation, CCECC handling the project is being funded accordingly; the job will be completed in May, 2023.
The Minister asserted that the Federal Government has approached Standard Chartered bank for the funding of the project as it was yet to conclude the loan agreement with the Chinese handling the job.
He said, “I have never denied that we are having financial challenges and that is because of the economic downturn. The Chinese are not funding the way they used to fund us, up till now, we are yet to conclude the loan on this project,
“So, we are funding this project from the budget, that was why I was skeptical on the completion date and I said, if we fund them, I used that word because of the situation of things.
“We agree that if we fund them, they must complete the work. They must do what they agreed that they will do. The conversation we had with them is that they must break this work into parts so that everybody will be working at the same time. If they do that, I am sure that before May, 2023 we will have commercial activity on the track”.
The Minister explained that Kano-Lagos, if completed, the route will be used to convey both passengers and cargoes. His word, “One of the most economic nerve centers in the country is Kano and Lagos. Why this track is the most economically viable track”
“The economic activities that takes place in Kano can be conveyed to Lagos viz a viz those who produce in Lagos can have their products conveyed to Kano. This will create jobs as well”
On Local content, Amaechi said government has been encouraging not only the use of local materials, but passing those kinds of jobs to Nigerians.
“Not just about the economic benefits, it is not good for the Chinese to come here and we borrow 2billion, take the whole profit and go to their country. They should also spend part of it on the country” the Minister said.