- Buhari Insists on Completion of Rail Projects
President Muhammadu Buhari has insisted that all rail projects across the country awarded by previous administrations must be resuscitated and completed before the end of 2019.
According to the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, the President made it clear that all the affected rail projects must be completed by December 2019 as a result of the economic significance of railways and the “benefits to be derived from them by the generality of Nigerians.”
Amaechi stated this during the Ministry of Transportation’s 2017 budget defence before the joint House of Representatives Committees on Aviation, Land Transport, Maritime, Safety and Administration/Ports, Harbours and Waterways at the National Assembly.
He was quoted in a statement by the ministry to have said on Monday, “Our plan is to complete the rail projects in 2019. Once our borrowing plan of $6.1bn from the Chinese EXIM Bank is approved by the National Assembly, we will be able to access the loan from the Chinese government and work will commence in earnest on these projects.”
The minister stated that the Federal Government’s construction target in the 2017 budget included the Segment 2 of the Lagos-Ibadan rail line and Segment 3 of the Kano-Kaduna rail project, as well as the first phase of the Coastal rail line from Lagos to Calabar, with extension to the Onne Deep Seaport.
He stated that some vital projects for the year 2016 were ongoing, including the completion of the mainline and ancillary facilities with electric power supply and freight yards in Idu and Regasa, among others.
Amaechi stated that many of the projects had been captured in the 2017 budget of the ministry.
The minister gave the 2017 total capital budget of his ministry as N243,746,507,321, with a breakdown for land transport, maritime and aviation sectors as N216,509,320,755.98, N828,005,236 and N26,409,181,229.02, respectively.
He noted that the 2016 total capital budget of the ministry was N171,652,299,451, out of which N42bn was released, representing 24.5 per cent.
Amaechi said the ministry would ensure that efforts were directed towards achieving a road map with the implementation and development of some key projects, such as infrastructural development through airport concession, establishment of a national carrier, as well as maintenance repair and overhaul facilities, among others.