Authorities in Nigeria have secured $1.5 billion (about N450 billion) counterpart funding from China for the Lagos-Ibadan rail project set to commence in march.
The Minister for Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, made this known when he appeared before the house of senate committee on land transport to defend the 2017 budget.
Amechi also urged the senate to approve a $6.1 billion Dollars loan from China Exim Bank for the construction of Calabar-Port Harcourt, Lagos-Ibadan, Lagos-Kano rail and Lagos to Kaduna railway.
In the first quarter of 2017, the foundation of the Lagos-Ibadan segment two of the Lagos-Kano rail project will be laid.
“In the first quarter of 2017, the foundation of the Lagos-Ibadan segment two of the Lagos-Kano rail project will be laid. The implication here is that we will start the Lagos-Ibadan rail line before the end of March,” he said.
He explained that the target was to commence from the Apapa, Lagos seaport down to Ogun and then to Ibadan.
The credit facility forms part of the $30 Billion Dollars loan, for which the Presidency was seeking the National Assembly approval to fund critical infrastructure.
Amaechi, explained that $3.4 Billion Dollars was for the construction of a Calabar-port Harcourt railway, while Lagos-Ibadan would cost $1.5 Billion Dollars.
Lagos-Ibadan rail line is a segment of the Lagos-Kano railway project, one of the most important and ambitious infrastructural targets of the Muhammadu Buhari-led administration.
In January, the government announced wholesale release of N72 billion as Nigeria’s counterpart funding for the Lagos-Ibadan railway.
Pointing out that the Federal Government had provided its counterpart 15 percent fund, Amaechi reiterated that it will be good if the National Assembly can kindly approve the loan of $30 Billion because the $6.1 Billion is part of it adding that is why they need the National Assembly to approve.
“What was approved was the 15% counterpart funding. But we need your approval to borrow,” he said.
He assured that the Federal Government would pursue the railway modernisation project with greater vigour in 2017 to achieve practical completion of the Abuja-Kaduna, Lagos-Kaduna, Lagos-Ibadan, Lagos-Kano, Kano-Kaduna.
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Lagos to Calabar is expected to commence from Calabar to Port Harcourt, with extension to Onne Deep Sea Port after the conclusion of the negotiation of a financing loan agreement.