Huge funding, minimal achievement, Transport Minister says Kano-Maradi rail project will cost $1.9bn

February 8, 2021
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The Nigerian government has been pumping huge sums of money into railway development in the country but has not made significant progress in delivering functional rail system.

Meanwhile, the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, had on Sunday revealed that the Kano-Maradi – Niger Republic – rail project will cost the Nigerian government $1.9 billion, that is over N1 trillion at the prevailing exchange rate. The minister’s explanation indicated that the sourcing the fund, which according to him will be from Europe, will increase Nigeria’s foreign debt burden. The minister, however, stated that the federal government is yet to secure the fund.

Amaechi had declared: “The project is going to cost us $1.9 billion and we will source it from mostly Europe

“We are about concluding.”

The Transport Minister was evasive on the repayment plan of the $1.9 billion loan. He said that repayment of the loan is not within the jurisdiction of the ministry, yet the ministry can negotiate and procure the loan.

According to Amaechi: “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.”

The minister was of the view that the rail project will create opportunities for Nigeria to attract investments. He maintained that the rail project to Niger Republic is in the best interest of Nigeria.

“The interest is national; the interest is about Nigeria. The Maradi terminal is just 20 kilometres away from Nigeria… So, there is no huge investment like Nigerians are thinking,” Amaechi highlighted.

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