Minister of Transportation, Hon. Rotimi Amaechi, has revealed that the Federal Government would need about $40 billion to finance the ongoing rail projects nationwide.
The minister made this disclosure while speaking to newsmen on the sidelines of the commissioning of 10 railway coaches and two locomotives at Rigasa Station, Kaduna State.
How Government will achieve this
Hon. Amaechi said that government was negotiating with contractors handling the Lagos-Ibadan railway to raise funds for the projects, stressing that everything would be done to finish the projects this year.
According to the minister “We need between $36 billion and $40 billion. Only God knows where we are going to get it. But I may apply what I did as Rivers State governor. When there is a project, we put on the table how much we have. We will just award the contract, believing that God will do it for us. You will say that it is naive but at the end of the day we got money to pay the contractors. Government will also focus on Kano-Kazure, Daura, Katsina, Jibya and link Maradi in Niger Republic, as part of regional railway inter-connectivity of the ECOWAS sub-region.”
Furthermore, procurement of the locomotives and coaches would ease movement on the Abuja-Kaduna rail service.
He said: “This is indeed a clear demonstration of this government’s commitment to accomplish a functional and efficient national rail transport. Such commitment has brought us into tangible ongoing rail project.
“It would be recalled that the President commissioned and flagged-off commercial rail operation, the first Nigerian standard gauge rail, which runs from Abuja in Idu to Rigassa in Kaduna in July 2016. This service has continued to be a success story and a first, as evidence that this government is committed to developing an efficient rail system that will meet the expectation of Nigerians.”
President Muhammadu Buhari had on Thursday commissioned new rail vehicles for the Kaduna –Abuja train service at Rigasa train station in Kaduna.
The vehicles consisted of 10 new coaches and two new locomotives.
The Federal Government procured the vehicles to reduce the stress of passengers whose large volume currently overwhelms facilities and had encouraged ticket racketeering and other sharp practices on the train route.