We’re not underfunding eastern rail line–FG

The Minister of Transport, Alhaji Idris Umar said on Thursday that the Federal Government was not underfunding the Port Harcourt-Makurdi rail line project.

Umar said this in Enugu while addressing newsmen at the end of the14th session of the National Council on Transport.

He said that the claims by the contractors handling the project, Esser West Africa, were unfounded as government had sufficiently funded the project.

Umar said that government was not lacking on its part of the bargain to get the project, otherwise known as eastern rail line, completed in good time.

“Go back and ask them if funds are the problem of the project. We have sufficiently funded them. If they generate certificate we give them as and when due,” he said.

He said that government had rehabilitated the entire track from Port Harcourt to Maiduguri and completion had been projected for 2015.

“The segment from Port Harcourt to Gombe will be completed by December this year.

“Hopefully, next year when the security situation improves, the entire track from Port Harcourt to Maiduguri will be rehabilitated,’’ he said.

He said that feasibility studies for the construction of an east-west rail line to link the South East to Lagos had been carried out and awaiting execution.

Umar said that government was in the process of advertising for the project, which he said would be executed in partnership with the private sector.