China is set to approve the sum of $5.3 billion for the ongoing railway projects across the country. This is to commence and complete construction of the Ibadan-Kano rail line.
The Minister for Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, disclosed this on Friday, June 12, during a special broadcast progamme on Channels Television to mark the country’s Democracy Day.
Amaechi stated that China had assisted Nigeria by disbursing cash to fund infrastructure in the country, especially railway. He said:
“The Chinese government and people have been very helpful to Nigeria. They have released $1.6 billion for Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge railway (SGR). They’ve agreed to approve and we hope that by October, they should be able to approve the $5.3 billion for the Federal Government so that we can commence and complete construction of Ibadan-Kano railway.”
Going further, the Minister pointed out that President Buhari had directed the release of $318 million as part of the 15% counterpart funding for the Ibadan-Kano rail line; more funds would be released next year.
He said that the Federal Government had planned to complete the Lagos-Ibadan rail line in May, and then start the Ibadan to Kano segment by June or July, but with the coming of covid-19 in March, the project had been stalled.
However, there was a presidential directive to start work on the project before September and as such, meetings were being held with the Chinese concerning strategies that would be applied while considering the health implications of covid-19.
Amaechi also talked about plans for the Bonny-Port Harcourt-Maiduguri rail line. He said, “We believe at the end of July, we should be at the cabinet seeking approval for the Bonny-Port Harcourt-Maiduguri rail line with the Bonny deep seaport and industrial park at Port Harcourt. That’s where we are now.”
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The Minister further disclosed that the Federal Government had been able to pay compensation at commercial rates, and not government rates to people and organizations that were displaced by the Lagos-Ibadan railway project.