The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, has disclosed that the Federal Government would require $40 billion to finance the ongoing rail projects in the country.
He added that government was negotiating with contractors handling the Lagos-Ibadan railway to raise funds for the projects, stressing that everything would be done to finish the projects this year.
The minister dropped the hints on the sidelines of the commissioning of 10 railway coaches and two locomotives at Rigasa Station, Kaduna State.
He said: “We need between $36 billion and $40 billion. Only God knows where we are going to get it. But I may apply what I did as Rivers State governor. When there is a project, we put on the table how much we have. We will just award the contract, believing that God will do it for us. You will say that it is naive but at the end of the day we got money to pay the contractors. Government will also focus on Kano-Kazure, Daura, Katsina, Jibya and link Maradi in Niger Republic, as part of regional railway inter-connectivity of the ECOWAS sub-region.”
He said the procurement of the locomotives and coaches would ease movement on the Abuja-Kaduna rail service.
He said: “This is indeed a clear demonstration of this government’s commitment to accomplish a functional and efficient national rail transport. Such commitment has brought us into tangible ongoing rail project.
“It would be recalled that the President commissioned and flagged-off commercial rail operation, the first Nigerian standard gauge rail, which runs from Abuja in Idu to Rigassa in Kaduna in July 2016. This service has continued to be a success story and a first, as evidence that this government is committed to developing an efficient rail system that will meet the expectation of Nigerians.”