FG to borrow from China, Portugal, Turkey to complete ongoing rail projects - NEWS FRONTIER DAILY


Thursday, November 3, 2022

FG to borrow from China, Portugal, Turkey to complete ongoing rail projects

THE Federal Government told the National Assembly that it hoped to complete the ongoing rail projects across the country with multi-billion dollar loans from financial institutions based in China, Portugal and Turkey.

According to the Federal Government, it was committed to the implementation of the Nigeria Railway Modernization project.

Speaking in Abuja when he appeared before the Joint National Assembly Committee on Land and Marine Transport, chaired by Senator Danjuma Goje, All  Progressives Congress, APC, Gombe Central, Minister of Transportation, Mu’azu Jaji Sambo said that the Railway network was being progressively expanded through yearly budgetary appropriations since the Federal Government was facing challenges in securing counterpart funding through loans.

Sambo said, “Currently, the implementation of the Kaduna-Kano, Port Harcourt to Maiduguri and Kano – Maradi Segments of the Railway Modernization 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. “

The Minister explained 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, adding that to reach practical completion on the projects, some aspects of works, including construction of overpass bridges, connection to the national grid and other ancillary provisions had to be completed.

He said, “Adequate funds need to be provided in the 2023 budget to facilitate the practical completion of the projects.

The Minister who  lamented the sad occurrence on the Abuja – Kaduna Rail incident earlier in the year, said that plans were ongoing to resume service there, adding, “With the release of those abducted, the Ministry plans to commence operation on the line, but not without taking proper precaution.

Sambo who  explained that necessary security gadgets would be installed to monitor the line and forestall a reoccurrence, expressed the hope that members of the National Assembly would assist the Ministry in achieving the plan.

He told the lawmakers that his ministry had proposed a total capital budget of N92, 251,422,746 and overhead of N382, 185, 472, adding  that the total capital appropriation of the Ministry for 2022 was N147, 549,080,677 out of which N52,134,727,253.22 representing 35.33% had been released to date.

He said that  N38,904,208,345 had been utilized as of 25 October, 2022 In addition, the sum of N358, 799,998 was appropriated for Overhead expenditure out of which N209, 299,998.81 was released, adding that the sum of N180, 623,089.34 of the released amount was expended as at 25th October, 2022.

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