The Federal Government on Friday said work would soon begin on some selected rail projects for which contracts have been awarded.
The government listed some of the rail projects to include the Ibadan-Kano, Port Harcourt Maiduguri, Kano-Maradi and Lagos-Calabar rail lines.
Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, disclosed this while speaking in Abuja at the annual ministerial briefing on programmes, projects and activities of the Federal Ministry of Transportation and its agencies.
He was joined at the briefing by Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed and Minister of State for Transportation, Gbemisola Saraki.
The Minister said government has solved the financial problems associated with the rail projects.
Amaechi said, “We have awarded the following contracts and we are about to start and we have even tried to solve the financial problems. This is because we have the problem of having to hire consulting engineers.
“The ones we are about to start are Ibadan to Kano, that we are waiting for funds from China.
“We are about to start Port Harcourt to Maiduguri, we are waiting for the cabinet to approve consulting shares. We are also to start the Kano-Maradi and Lagos to Calabar.
“But one thing that is unique about these contracts is that the President early enough directed that all rail lines must stagnate at the sea ports.
“That is why there may be a bit of adjustment in the pricing of Kano-Maradi because we have to adjust it to link up to Kano-Lagos so that it can terminate at Lagos seaport.”
Amaechi said the 185.5km Lagos-Ibadan double standard gauge line with extension to Apapa seaport was nearing completion while the 186km Abuja-Kaduna and 302km Warri-Itakpe standard guage lines had been completed and were functional.
He frowned at the ticket racketeering perpetuated by some employees of the Nigeria Railway Corporation and directed the management of the NRC to deal decisively with anyone found culpable.
Amaechi, however, stated that with the introduction of the online ticketing system on the Abuja-Kaduna train service, the NRC had been able to raise its earnings by about N50m after deducting its operational cost.
On the refund of loan, the Minister said the government had “paid a total sum of N420.46m into the escrow account from revenue received from Abuja-Kaduna train services over the period of the ERGP (Economic Recovery and Growth Plan 2017-2020).”