Nigeria’s Minister of Transportation and former governor of Rivers State, Rotimi Amaechi said the federal government has paid up to $150m out of $2bn loans borrowed from China to construct rails.
Amaechi speaking on Channels TV, Wednesday, on the ‘Politics Today’ programme said that President Muhammadu Buhari administration only borrowed the money for the construction of the Kaduna-Abuja and the Lagos-Ibadan railways.
According to Daily Post, when asked how much of the Chinese loans obtained that the Federal Government has repaid, Amaechi said, “The right ministry to respond to that question is the Ministry of Finance; they borrow and they repay but I think the last I heard about it, it was between a $100m to $150m repayments that we have done so far in the Kaduna-Abuja.
“Don’t forget that we’ve not borrowed any money yet, the only money we borrowed is in Kaduna-Abuja and Lagos-Ibadan.
“Lagos-Ibadan, what we borrowed is about $1.5bn though it is not matured for repayment, what has matured for repayment is the Kaduna-Abuja which is being repaid.
“Nigerians think we borrow so much but the only projects we have borrowed so far is the Kaduna-Abuja where we borrowed $500m and Lagos-Ibadan where we borrowed $1.5bn. So, that brings the total loan exposure for us in the Ministry of Transport to about $2bn as far as the railway is concerned.”
It is no news that President Buhari visited Lagos on the 10th of June 2021 to inaugurate the Lagos-Ibadan railways project. Mr President visited the newly built rail station in Mobolaji Johnson, Ebute Metta Lagos.
According to Premium Times, President Muhammadu described the project as an applaudable milestone of his administration
‘‘as another milestone in the drive of this administration to revitalize the railway system and establish it as a choice mode of transportation for both passengers and freight,’’ says Buhari.
Meanwhile, in a press release signed by the President’s Special Adviser on Media & Publicity, Femi Adeshina; President Buhari gives details of the benefits of connecting Nigerian states through rail lines.
The press release read in part: ‘‘This vital line establishes an end-to-end logistic supply chain in railway transport within its short corridor, Lagos – Ibadan, as goods to the hinterland would now be transported by rail directly from the Apapa port Quayside straight to the Inland Container Depot located in Ibadan from where it can be distributed to other parts of the country.
‘‘In clear recognition of the challenges posed to our economic growth by the absence of strong and effective infrastructure, we have in the rail sector, further to other ongoing railway infrastructure projects, embarked on the completion of the outstanding segment of the Lagos – Kano railway, which is Ibadan – Kano.
‘‘The Lagos-Kano railway project when completed will link the Kano – Maradi line at Kano and a rail link from the Nigeria southern ports of Lagos to Maradi in the Niger Republic will be achieved.
‘‘The connection through rail would position Nigerian ports as the choice for import and export business of the people of landlocked Niger Republic.
‘‘This would be beneficial to the economy through employment from new business opportunities and wealth creation.’’
Buhari also commends Amaechi’s Ministerial office of Transportation and Ministry of Finance for reaching an agreement with appropriate co-financers who partner with the federal government to make the railways project in the nation achievable.