The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, has said that the Kano-Maradi (Niger Republic) railway project will cost the Federal Government the sum of $1.9 billion, with the funds expected to be mostly sourced from Europe.
He said the financing is being negotiated for the railway project which is expected to be flagged off this week by President Muhammadu Buhari.
This disclosure was made by Amaechi while speaking on a Channels Television programme, Sunday Politics, on Sunday, February 7, 2021.
The project is one of Nigeria’s strategic attempts to position itself to take advantage of Niger’s landlocked status and will connect Kano to Apapa Port in Lagos.
What the Minister of Transportation is saying
The Minister said, “The project is going to cost us $1.9bn and we will source it from mostly Europe.”
Amaechi, however, noted that the country had not secured the money, stressing that “we are about concluding.”
While responding to a question on how long it would take the country to repay the loan, the former Rivers State Governor explained that it was not within the jurisdiction of his Ministry, but noted that the railway project would commence on Tuesday.
He said, “That is the responsibility of the Ministry of Finance. When we would pay; what are the terms of agreement for the loan and all that would be the responsibility of the Ministry of Finance.
“So, that question can be directed to the Minister for Finance. For us in Transportation, our job is to work with the Ministry of Finance to procure the loan and commence construction and we think we would commence construction on Tuesday.”
He stated that the project would open up the country to more investment, arguing that it was in Nigeria’s best interest for the Kano-Maradi railway to be constructed.
Amaechi said, “The interest is national; the interest is about Nigeria. The Maradi terminal is just 20 kilometres away from Nigeria; just 20 kilometres. So, there is no huge investment like Nigerians are thinking.”
The Minister said the Lagos-Kano commercial corridor transports 30,000,000 tonnes of cargo annually, with only 200,000 of that currently carried by rail and the rest by road. This, he described as preposterous.
What you should know
- Nairametrics had on February 5, reported that President Muhammadu Buhari would on Tuesday, February 9, 2021, perform the groundbreaking ceremony of the Kano-Maradi, Kano-Dutse Railway Project.
- This follows the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding with Mota-Engil Group, the contractors to the railway project, which is expected to connect 3 states namely Kano, Katsina and Jigawa and then terminate at Maradi, Niger Republic.
- The rail line, which will be completed in 36 months, is expected to financially empower Nigeria as the import/export hub for Niger and would help the country compete favourably with other coastal countries of West Africa in servicing the landlocked countries around in the area of movement of cargoes to make Lagos seaports very viable.