About 700 kilometres of railway line, currently running commercial activities within the country has been completed by the current administration of President Muhammadu Buhari out of the 5000 to 6,000 kilometres of rail line it planned to build.
The Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi who made the revelation in Abuja named the Abuja -Kaduna Railway, the Itakpe-Warri and the Lagos-Ibadan as the projects that had been completed.
According to the minister, over N1 billion has been paid into a special account as the ministry’s contribution to repay part of the loan collected for the rail projects.
The Minister said the government has awarded a contract to three more companies ,adding that Itape-Warri is 225km, the one from Lagos to Ibadan , 156km, that of Abuja-Kaduna is about 186 kilometres. He added that the country now has about 700km of rail completed and carrying out commercial activities.
”Within this period as the minister, we have never paid money to the government but we got to the Ministry of Finance and asked them to open an account where we pay money every month as our own contribution for repayment of the loan.
”And I think we have gotten over N1 billion already in the last few months.Every month that we pay, we are able to return close to N200million per month,” Amaechi said.
He said that the Federal Government was already negotiating for a new facilities to construct the rail from Ibadan to Kano, adding that the loan negotiation with China is not yet completed but that the Federal Government has commenced from budget not from loan, the construction of Kano to Kaduna.
”So any point in time the Chinese are able to give us loan, we know that it will be from Ibadan to Abuja, but for now we have done Abuja to Kaduna, we are now doing Kaduna to Kano.On the 2022 budget, over N205 billion was earmarked in the budget for the transportation sector’, he explained.
The Federal Government said the money is to help address the huge rail infrastructure deficit in Nigeria since the last 30 years ,while the last six years have been top priority of President Muhammadu Buhari ‘s administration.
The transportation sector was included as one of the beneficiaries of about N1.45 trillion critical sectorial allocation in the year 2022 budget.