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Paucity of funds may stall completion of Kano-Kaduna rail project – Amaechi

The Hon. Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, says inadequate funding may slow down the pace of work and completion of the Kano–Kaduna rail project.

Amaechi made this known while inspecting work on the project in Kano on Friday.

“I have never denied that we are having official challenges and that is due to the economic downturn.

“The Chinese are not financing the way they used to finance us and so far we have yet to finalize the loan for this project. So we are funding this project from the budget.

“That is why I was sceptical about the completion and said if there are funds available. However, we are putting pressure on all the necessary institutions that need to give us money.

“But currently, we finance it through the budget, we will again approach the Ministry of Finance to finance us within this period,” Amaechi said.

Based on the pace of work, and with adequate funds, the minister was optimistic that they would deliver the project for commercial activities before May 2023.

He congratulated the CCECC and the TEAM for the quality of the work carried out so far and urged them not to give in in order to deliver a good job to the country.

Amaechi reaffirmed the importance of using local materials and labour in the construction of the railway project.

According to him, the government is encouraging not only the use of local materials, but also the transfer of all such work to Nigerians.

“For us to be part of the process, we are part of the benefits of it, not only the economic benefit but also the official benefit.”

Regarding the equipment, he said that it was agreed that the Chinese should bring 2,000 equipment for the construction of the project.

He said this was to ensure the availability of equipment for the project at all times to prevent a recurrence of what was experienced during the construction of the Lagos-Ibadan rail project.

“They brought about 472 teams, 200 of them are in the sea port, but what we agreed is that they should bring 2,000 teams.

“This is because what we suffered in Lagos-Ibadan was the fact that the equipment was breaking down, there was not enough of it and they couldn’t order new ones.

“So for this one, buy all the equipment you need so that as it breaks, you replace so we can complete the project in due time,” he explained.

Regarding the benefits, Amaechi reiterated that the essence of the project was to facilitate the movement of passengers and cargo, but especially cargo.

He said that Kano was the most important economic center and that the project would ensure that activities taking place in Kano moved easily to Lagos.

“It will generate jobs, and the cost of land here will not be the same. So the economic value here is much more than it will be before construction.

“Also, as I always tell people, you can work in Abuja and take off from Kano, just as it is being done now in Kaduna.

“In that way, it will reduce the cost of accommodation and those who maintain two households can now live in Kano and go to work in Abuja,” added Amaechi.

On the motivation behind the rail project, Amaechi said that it was President Muhammadu Buhari’s vision to connect the country by rail and his duty as Minister of Transport to implement it.

According to the minister, it has been a pleasure to see that Nigerians can move and transport their cargo from one place to another in the country.


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