The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, has expressed concerns over the Kano-Kaduna railway project as he says that lack of adequate funding may slow down the pace of work and completion of the project.
This was disclosed by Amaechi while on an inspection of the Kano-Kaduna rail project on Friday in Kano, where he directed the Chinese contractor to move all equipment to site promising to keep monitoring until the job is done.
What the Minister of Transport is saying about the project
Amaechi in his statement said, “I have never denied that we are having financial challenges and that is because of economic downturn. The Chinese are not funding the way they used to fund us and up till now, we are yet to conclude the loan for this project. So we are funding this project from the budget.
“That is why I was skeptical about the completion and said if funding is available. However, we are putting pressure on all the necessary institution that need to give us money. But currently, we fund it through the budget, we will approach the Ministry of Finance again to fund us within this period.’’
Amaechi was optimistic that the project would be delivered for commercial activities before May 2023, based on the pace of work by the contractors and the availability of funds.
The minister restated the importance of utilising local materials and manpower in the construction of the rail project adding that government is encouraging not only the use of local materials but passing all those kinds of jobs to local Nigerians.
On equipment, he said it was agreed that the Chinese contractor should bring in 2,000 equipment to ensure availability of equipment for the project at all times and prevent reoccurrence of what was experienced during the construction of the Lagos-Ibadan rail project.
He explained, “They brought about 472 equipment, 200 of them are in the sea port, but what we agreed is that they must bring in 2,000 equipment.
“This is because what we suffered in Lagos- Ibadan, was the fact that equipment were breaking down, was not enough and they couldn’t place order for new ones.
“So for this one, buy all the equipment that you need so that as they break down you replace so that we will be able to complete the project in due time.’’
On the benefits, Amaechi reiterated that the essence of the project was for easy movement of passengers and cargoes, especially cargoes as Kano was the most important economic mass centre and the project would ensure activities that took place in Kano be conveyed easily to Lagos.
What you should know
- Recall that earlier in July 2021, President Muhammadu Buhari flagged off the construction of the Kano -Kaduna rail project even though the loan for the project was not forthcoming from China as earlier planned.
- The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, revealed that the project would now be funded from the ministry’s budgetary allocation as the Federal Government would not continue to wait endlessly for the loan.
- Amaechi had also earlier disclosed that the Federal Government has committed about $280 million in the $1.2 billion Kaduna-Kano rail project which is a continuation of the already completed Abuja-Kaduna rail line.