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$5.3bn Chinese loan delaying Ibadan-Kano rail project – Amaechi

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Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, has said construction work will start the Ibadan-Kano rail as soon as the Chinese government approves the sum of $5.3bn loan application for the project.

He stated this as a guest of the Nigerian Television Authority, NTA, Weekend Deal Programme.

The minister also said the FG would expedite action on cargo movement by rail to avert the frequent road accidents occasioned by fuel tanker and dry cargoes on the road.

He said, “We are waiting for the Chinese government and bank to approve the $5.3bn to construct the Ibadan-Kano. What was approved a year ago was the contract.

“The moment I announced that the Federal Government had awarded a contract of $5.3bn to the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation to construct Ibadan-Kano, they assumed the money had come in; no; up till now, we have not got the money a year after we have applied for the loan; we have almost finished the one of Lagos-Ibadan. If we don’t get the loan now, we can’t commence.”

The minister added that upon completion, the Ibadan-Kano rail would link the Kaduna-Kano-Abuja-Minna-Ilorin-Oshogbo-Ibadan where cargoes could be moved to Kano from Lagos.

On the issue of wet cargoes on the road resulting in vehicular accidents, Amaechi said henceforth, cargoes would be conveyed from Lagos to Ibadan only.

He stated that when the Ibadan to Kano rail project is completed, wet and dry cargoes would be transported from Lagos to Kano.

“Nigeria should be more patient with the Ministry of Transportation over the issue of wet cargoes. Currently, we are trying to construct the railway into the seaports to enable us to transport either wet or dry cargoes to various destinations. The only wet cargoes that can go now will be between Lagos and Ibadan.

“The moment we conclude that we will be able to move wet cargoes all the way to Kano from Lagos. We should also commence the construction of Port Harcourt to Maiduguri and be able to move cargoes from Bonny to Maiduguri,” he said.

On the funding of various rail projects across the country, Amaechi said the Ministry of Finance is in charge of funding and not the Ministry of Transportation, adding however that the ministry had a Presidential seal of approval to seek loans to fund rail projects for the benefit of Nigeria and Nigerians.

Railway

Buhari flags off Kano-Kaduna rail construction, to link Tin Can Port

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Kano to get Nigeria’s biggest train station
President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday performed ground-breaking ceremony of 203.8km standard gauge Kano-Kaduna rail line, which he said would be linked with the Tin Can Island Port in Lagos.

A mega railway station is to be constructed at Zawachiki, Kano State, which will be the biggest train station in Nigeria.

Buhari said the railway station would be strategically located adjacent to the Dala Inland Dry Port in Kano.
The rail project is the third segment of the Lagos-Kano standard gauge railway modernisation project.
The first segment (Abuja-Kaduna) and the second segment (Lagos-Ibadan) were inaugurated for commercial operations in July 2016 and June 2021 respectively.
The President said his administration recognised rail transportation as a potent economic driver and as such, has accorded railway infrastructure development the greatest priority.
“The take-off of construction activities on this segment of Lagos-Kano vividly represents the commitment of this administration in the revival of the Nigerian railway system to reduce the deficiency in our transportation infrastructure and drive effective and more efficient transportation of passengers and freight within the country,” Buhari said.
“This project is crucial to the establishment of a supply chain in railway transport within its corridor, Kano-Kaduna-Abuja, as it links the major commercial cities of Kano and Kaduna to the federal capital territory, Abuja.
“This railway connection, when completed, will establish the ports in Lagos, as the choice for import and export business of the people of landlocked Niger Republic.
“This would positively drive our economies through employment from new business opportunities and wealth creation.
“The federal ministry of transportation and ministry of finance are working to engage co-financiers to conclude financial agreements for the development of the Ibadan-Kano line and further increase the bankability of the project.
“The railway line will be linked to the second port in Lagos, the Tin Can Island port. It is also expected that the dry inland port on these routes will be activated. The ports can now receive imports directly from the international market as ports of destination.”
In his remarks, Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, said, “The project will improve the standard of living within this corridor, create employment…we will not employ anything less than 20,000 workers on this route. It will also promote trade.
“In the long term, the railway will help decongest the Lagos port complex and increase efficiency and as well as further increase the viability of the inland dry port located in Ibadan, Kaduna and Kano.
“The Ibadan-Abuja (railway project) will link the seaports to Maradi, Niger Republic, which I believe will greatly boost trade between the two countries and foster economic development.”
Amaechi also hinted that the Federal Government would soon construct another railway that will link Sokoto-Kebbi-Zamfara to the national railway network.
“Currently, we are awaiting the national assembly for the approval of the loan facility to continue the work from Port-Harcourt to Maiduguri,” he added.
“The work traverses Port-Harcourt, Aba Umuahia, Enugu, Markurdi, Lafia, Jos, Kafanchan-Kaduna, Bauchi, Gombe, Damaturu, Gasua, and then Borno.”

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NUR excited about FG’s attention to railway, advises workers

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Nigeria Union of Railway Workers has expressed satisfaction and excitement at the attention being given to the Nigerian railways by the Federal Government.
It has urged its members to reciprocate the good gesture of the Federal Government on the development of the rail transport industry through diligence, punctuality and display of a high level of professionalism.
The union gave the advice preparatory to the ground-breaking ceremony of yet another standard gauge track construction project of Kano-Kaduna rail line tomorrow (Thursday).
Addressing the congress of the members of the union in Lagos, the Secretary General of the union, Segun Esan, urged the workers to show appreciation and gratitude to FG’s quest for an effective and efficient railway through various construction of standard gauge lines and equipping the industry for greater performance.
He particularly charged them on the need to protect the new and other railway facilities against theft and vandalisation.
Esan said, “The best we can do to express our profound appreciation to the Federal Government is to get committed to this work with passion and also protect the railway facilities from theft and vandalization as if it is our personal property are aware of what it takes to build a railway in terms of capital intensiveness of the development of the industry.
“This is why we must renew our enthusiasm and passion to make Nigerian people and the federal government proud by working with greater diligence and top-notch professionalism.”
He commended the administration of President Mohammadu Buhari for raising the ante by starting the construction of 190km Lagos-Ibadan (Moniya) track construction, completing it and commencing its full commercial operation.


‘’Nigerian railway workers take cognizance of the commendable feat achieved by this administration in starting the construction of Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge from the scratch and completing it and even starting the operation within its tenure. This is worthy development that has never happened in the country before.
“If all past Administrations have been this committed to the development of the railway industry, we would have had higher rail infrastructure base and greater market share of the passenger and freight presently taken by the road mode would have come to the railway and the road network would have been saved from constant dilapidation and pressure.
‘’We should recall that the spate of infrastructure development under this incumbent administration in terms of system transition from the narrow gauge railway system to standard gauge, no doubt, has been very tremendous, consistent, and way too unbelievably contrasting to what used to be the order of the day in the past when remedial approaches were explored to salvage the railway industry all to no avail.
“This administration owns the credit for the completion, upgrading, and operation of Warri-Itakpe standard gauge railway after being dug out from its complacent state spanning over 25 years and the completion/operation of Abuja – Kaduna railway which, as we stand, is the flagship of the Corporation. We have no excuse but to tap into the lofty vision and aspiration of the federal government for a better railway system by complementing its effort with a good attitude to work.”

Esan however appealed to the FG not to make the mistake made in the past whereby locomotive engines, coaches and wagons were purchased without adequate spare parts to repair and maintain the facilities bought.
He added that the welfare and salary regime of the railway workers should be reviewed with a view to using that as means to encourage and attract young and employable Nigerians to follow career paths in the system.

 

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FG still discussing with Standard Chartered over railway project loan – Amaechi

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The Federal Government is still discussing with the London-based Standard Chartered Bank to finance the Lagos-Calabar coastal rail project.
David Iyofor, media aide to the minister of transportation, confirmed this to TheCable in a text message on Monday.
Iyofor did not state the exact figure the government is planning to borrow from the London-based financial institution.
In June, Rotimi Amaechi, minister of transportation, hinted about the federal government’s move with Standard Chartered Plc to raise about $14.4 billion to fund two rail projects.
The Standard Chartered financing is expected to replace the borrowing plan from China for the construction of rail lines in the country.
In another report, Bloomberg had quoted Amaechi in an interview that Zainab Ahmed, minister of finance, budget and national planning, is “overseeing the talks with the emerging markets-focused financial institution about arranging the infrastructure loans.”
He had said the loan would make the country move away from China in some of the projects.
The federal government is currently seeking loans to execute several rail projects in the country. These include the Port Harcourt to Maiduguri, Lagos-Ibadan-Kano rail lines, and the Lagos-Calabar coastal rail project.
-TheCable

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