By Taiye Elebiyo-Edeni
Abuja – The Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC) on Tuesday attributed the delay in completion of Calabar-Port Harcourt, Kaduna-Kano rail projects to the non-payment of counterpart funding from the Chinese EXIM bank.
Mr Fidet Okhiria, the NRC’s Managing Director, made the disclosure in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.
According to him, the Federal Government has paid its own counterpart funding for the projects but negotiation is still ongoing with the bank.
“We have finished Abuja-Kaduna, Lagos-Ibadan, we thought by this time Port Harcourt – Calabar would have commenced, Kaduna-Kano would have also commenced. Government had provided its complete counterpart funding.
“But the government is taking time to negotiate the counterpart funding from the Chinese EXIM bank, two weeks ago we just signed the Lagos-Ibadan.
“The other two aspect of the loan would have being conclusive and the Ministry of Finance will go there and sign, so that work can commence on the Calabar-Port Harcourt, Kaduna-Kano.
“The beauty of it all is that the EXIM Bank is saying they don’t want segmentation, they want it done at once, so that is what is delaying it; we have to go back to renegotiate, so that once we start, we don’t stop,” he said.
Okhiria, further said that Lagos-Ibadan has commenced because the necessary fund has been secured, noting that the counterpart funding for Calabar-Port-Harcourt was also made available.
“We are negotiating the counterpart funding and by the time we get it, it will be from Ibadan-Kano and Lagos-Calabar complete,” he said.
The NRC boss said that the Itakpe-Warri was included in the budget, stating that it hope to start operation in June 2018.
Commenting on the Kaduna-Abuja rail, Okhiria said that 10 coaches would arrive by the end of September, adding that 10 locomotives were already at Iddo station to improve the frequency of the train.