By Patience Danjuma
The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi says the Buhari’s administration currently needs about $16 billion to actualise some of the programmes already approved for the Ministry of Transportation.
The minister said this in an interview with State House correspondents after his meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Thursday.
Amaechi said the sum was needed especially for the construction of two deep seaports in Bonny, Rivers State and Warri, Delta State.
He said since the money needed was not coming easily, the government may consider adopting Public Private Partnership for some of the projects that had been approved.
The minister said, “There are approvals for our sector but we have to look for the money because the money is not just there.
“We need about $16 billion and we can’t just pluck that form the sky. We will try and see if we can get Public Private Partnership, especially as it pertains to the seaports.
“There are two deep seaports that were approved – the Bonny and Warri deep seaports.
“As for the Port Harcourt railway industrial park, we should also be able to get that done through PPP even though I doubt if we will be able to get railway as PPP because it is quite expensive.”
Amaechi said there were plans to also dredge the Calabar seaport through PPP.
He gave an assurance that the problem of traffic gridlock on the road leading to Apapa port in Lagos would be over by December.
“In terms of the narrow gauge, if not for a hitch, we would have commenced trucking cargo form Apapa seaport to Ebute-Metta-Lagos and take away the challenges we are having with that Apapa gridlock and bad road. That will happen before December,” he said.
He also said between now and December, the government would bring in more coaches and locomotives to boost rail transportation across the country.
He said President Buhari was pleased with developments in the sector during their meeting.
“The President sleeps and wakes up thinking about our railways; therefore I must always see him and tell him how far we have gone.
“Once he hears the progress that is being made, he feels happy. He is also very pleased with what we have done in terms of the narrow gauge.
“Between now and December; we are bringing in more locomotives, coaches and wagons, to ensure efficiency in the narrow gauge.
“We are expecting 10 for Kaduna-Abuja axis and another seven, which will hopefully go to Itakpe-Warri because we believe that by June, that axis should also come alive,” he disclosed.
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