By Taiye Elebiyo-Edeni
Abuja – The Federal Government has concluded plans to borrow 6.1 billion dollars from Chinese Exim Bank to complete all rail projects in the country by 2019.
The Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi, disclosed this on Monday in Abuja.
In a statement issued by Yetunde Sonaike, the Ministry’s Director of Public Relations, Amaechi was said to have made this known during the Ministry’s 2017 budget proposal defence at the National Assembly in Abuja.
Amaechi said that the Federal Government had targeted the construction of Lagos – Ibadan, Kano – Kaduna rail projects and the first phase of the Coastal Rail (Lagos-Calabar) in the 2017 budget.
He said that President Muhammadu Buhari insisted that all rail projects in the country that had been awarded by previous administrations must be resuscitated and completed on or before December 2019.
Amaechi said that rail projects needed to be completed due to the economic importance of these projects and the benefits to be derived by the generality of Nigerians.
“Our plan is to complete the rail projects in 2019.
“Once our borrowing plan of 6.1 billion dollars from the Chinese EXIM Bank is approved by the National Assembly, we will be able to access the loan from the Chinese Government and work will commence in earnest.
“The 2017 total capital budget of the Federal Ministry of Transportation is N243.74 billion.
“The 2016 total capital budget of the ministry was N171. 65 billion out of which N42 billion was released, representing 24.5 per cent,” he said.
According to the minister, some vital projects for the year 2016 considered ongoing includes the completion of the Mainline and Ancillary Facilities with Electric Power Supply, Freight Yards in Idu and Regasa.
He said the Locomotive Workshop, Rolling Stock Deport and provision of operational facilities for Abuja – Kaduna Rail line, remobilisation and resuscitation of the Central Rail line Project of Itakpe – Ajaokuta – Warri has also been captured in the 2017 budget for construction.
“The minister said that the ministry will ensure that efforts are directed towards achieving a roadmap with the implementation and development of some key projects, such as infrastructural development through Airport Concession.
“Establishment of National Carrier, Establishment of Maintenance Repair and Overhaul (MRO) facilities, Development of Agro-Allied Cargo Infrastructure and Establishments of Leasing Company, Establishment of Aerospace University with the support of International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) through Public Private Partnership (PPP).
“The essential focus of the ministry’s 2017 Budget is to provide effective and efficient means of transportation for the nation, thereby, contributing to national development.
“ The consequent effect of the implementation of this budget is to guarantee mass employment opportunities for Nigerians and to ensure wealth creation, more revenue generation and less pressure on the Nigerian roads,” he said.