- About $600 million of the $1.005 billion Chinese loan for rail project linking Lagos to Kano has been diverted by the Ministry of Finance, President Muhammadu Buhari heard yesterday.
- Permanent Secretary Ministry of Transport Alhaji Mohammed Bashar revealed this while briefing the President on the activities of the ministry at the Presidential Villa, Abuja yesterday.
- President Buhari, in his response called for an explanation from the Ministry of Finance on the rail projects loans.
- Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity Mallam Garba Shehu, said this in a statement he released in Abuja yesterday.He said the loan was obtained from the Chinese Exim Bank for the construction of a standard gauge rail line linking Lagos to Kano.
- The presidential aide said the permanent secretary had revealed to President Buhari that only $400 million of that loan remained with the Ministry of Finance.
- Shehu quoted Buhari as saying that it was disappointing to find out that foreign loans that obtained in line with signed agreements were moved from one project to another.
He also quoted the president as saying: “I hope that due process was followed before such diversions were carried out. Taking money from one project to another has to be done properly”.
- He said Buhari also regretted that government had, over the years, failed to meet its counterpart funding obligation on some projects, leading to such projects being left uncompleted or abandoned.
- According to the presidential aide, President Buhari also maintained that there was a clear need to streamline, harmonise and prioritise on-going projects in the transportation sector.