By Emmanuel Nduka
Nigeria’s Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, has disclosed that he needs up to $36bn to construct railway nationwide.
The Minister who stated this on NTA’s ‘Good Morning Nigeria’ programme on Friday, explained that railway is capital intensive and this has made it difficult for private firms to invest in the sector.
Amaechi harped that the reason the Nigerian Government has been borrowing funds externally is because only the Government is able to come up with the needed collateral to take such loans.
“If we had money, I would want to be the minister that initiated and completed the linking of Nigeria. All I need is $36bn. With $36bn, all of them (will be linked).
“The project from Itakpe to Abuja is $3.09bn. If we have that, we will start it tomorrow morning,” he said while responding to why the Kaduna-Abuja railway had not been linked to Lokoja.
He held that President Muhammadu Buhari had done exceedingly well in the area of infrastructure, but said he feared that the gains of the Buhari regime would be reversed if the opposition party takes over in 2023.
According to the former Rivers State Governor, Buhari is a unique President for the fact that he did not cancel former President Goodluck Jonathan’s projects, but decided to continue them for the benefit of Nigerians.
Meanwhile, as of March 31, 2020, Nigeria had borrowed $3.12bn from China, most of which are tied to several rail projects.