The Federal Government is currently negotiating a loan of about $6bn with the China Export-Import Bank for the construction of the Ibadan-Kano rail line.
It has also approved $195m for the security of Nigeria’s waterways by an Israeli firm in order to curb criminal activities in the maritime sector.
The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, disclosed these at an interactive session with journalists in Abuja on Tuesday.
He said, “We are currently in negotiations with the China Exim Bank to get about $6bn to do rail lines from Ibadan-Kano rail. It is a difficult decision because money required is about $8bn to do a double track, but the Chinese are insisting that they can’t fund the double track.
“They are asking us to do a single track and they want it at Minna so that instead of going from Minna to Kaduna, we should go from Minna to Abuja and then join it from Abuja to Kaduna.
“But there are those who argue that we should not accept that. Rather, we should tell them to fund it in segments. This, however, does not make economic sense.”
On waterways security, the minister stated that $195m had been approved, and expressed confidence that it would help reduce crime in the maritime sector.
Amaechi stated, “The Federal Government has approved the sum of $195m to hire an Israeli company to help train our security personnel to man our waterways. Currently, there are criminal activities in our waterways, which have resulted in some parts of the country in people charging what they call war insurance.
“War insurance means that you go to an area where there seems to be war, but you know that there is no war there. But in such areas, criminal activities are taking place in the waterways. So, with the approval, after we’ve put the processes in place, we will ensure that there is security on our waters.”
In another development, the Federal Ministry of Transportation has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Japan for cooperation in promoting quality infrastructure investment in Nigeria.
Amaechi signed the MoU with Japan’s State Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, Tsukasa Akimoto, in Abuja.
A statement by the ministry said the Japanese minister, who was accompanied by his country’s Ambassador to Nigeria, Yutaka Kikuta, expressed excitement on the partnership between the two nations in developing infrastructure.
Credit: Punch newspaper