THE federal government has revealed plans to complete the Kaduna-Kano, Port Harcourt-Maiduguri and Kano-Maradi rail projects with multibillion dollar loans from financial institutions based in China, Portugal and Turkey.
Minister of Transportation, Mu’azu Jaji Sambo disclosed this while defending the Ministry’s proposed 2023 budget before the Joint National Assembly Committees on Land and Marine Transport, chaired by Senator Danjuma Goje.
He said that the Ministry was also committed to the implementation of the Nigeria Railway Modernisation project.
According to him, the railway network was being progressively expanded through yearly budgetary appropriations since the government was facing challenges in securing counterpart funding through loans.
“Currently, the implementation of the Kaduna-Kano, Port Harcourt to Maiduguri and Kano–Maradi segments of the Railway Modernisation is ongoing with the Federal Government counterpart funding in the 2022 appropriation.
“The ministry hopes that the Federal Ministry of Finance concludes negotiation of the loans with infrastructure development finance institutions of the Chinese, Portuguese and Turkish origin to implement the projects.
“To ensure finalising and signing of the loan agreements, evidence of source of funding of the balance of the advance payment and other aspects of work to be financed directly by the federal government has to be made available to these financial institutions through adequate budgetary provisions in the year 2023 budget and subsequent budgets.”
Sambo added that the Lagos-Ibadan segment of the Lagos-Kano and Itakpe to Warri railway projects were fully operational and receiving patronage from the general public.
He further disclosed that the Abuja – Kaduna train service which was shut down due to terrorist attack would resume with precaution.
“With the release of those abducted, the Ministry plans to commence operation on the line, but not without taking proper precaution.”
The minister noted that necessary security gadgets would be installed to monitor the line and forestall a reoccurrence.
He expressed the hope that members of the National Assembly would assist the Ministry in achieving the plan.
The Ministry had proposed a total capital budget of N92, 251,422,746 and overhead of N382, 185, 472 for 2023.