FG borrows $6.1bn from China for rail projects

Rotimi Amaechi

The Federal Government has concluded plans to borrow $6.1bn from Chinese Exim Bank to complete all rail projects in the country by 2019.

The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, disclosed this on Monday in Abuja.

In a statement issued by the ministry’s Director of Public Relations, Yetunde Sonaike, Amaechi was said to have made this known during the ministry’s 2017 budget proposal defence at the National Assembly in Abuja.

Amaechi said the Federal Government had targeted the construction of Lagos–Ibadan, Kano–Kaduna rail projects and the first phase of the Coastal Rail (Lagos-Calabar) in the 2017 budget.

He said that President Muhammadu Buhari insisted that all rail projects in the country that have been awarded by previous administrations must be resuscitated and completed on or before December 2019.

Amaechi said that rail projects needed to be completed due to their economic importance and the benefits to be derived by the generality of Nigerians.

“Our plan is to complete the rail projects in 2019.

“Once our borrowing plan of $6.1bn from the Chinese Exim Bank is approved by the National Assembly, we will be able to access the loan from the Chinese Government and work will commence in earnest.

“The 2017 total capital budget of the Federal Ministry of Transportation is N243.74bn.

“The 2016 total capital budget of the ministry was N171. 65bn, out of which N42bn was released, representing 24.5 per cent,” he said.

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