Daily Trust

Buhari approves $15bn loan for Port Harcourt-Maiduguri

President Muhammadu Buhari has approved that negotiation be carried out for about $15billion loan to complete the Port Harcourt-Maiduguri rail project.

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Transportation Minister Rotimi Ameachi disclosed this to State House reporters Tuesday after briefing President Muhammadu Buhari on activities of his ministry.

He said: “Don’t forget that the Lagos-Calabar project is yet to start because of funds; the Port Harcourt-Maiduguri is yet to start because of funds, but the president has approved that we negotiate for funds. We’re almost concluding negotiations for the Port Harcourt-Maiduguri. We are looking at the cost. It is in the neighbourhood of between 14 billion and $15 billion."

The minister said Buhari also gave the approval for negotiations of funds, the exact amount he did not disclose, for completion of the Lagos-Calabar rail project.

Ameachi said the tracks on the Lagos-Ibadan route would be laid in April.

“If the rain doesn’t start early we will start laying tracks on the Lagos-Ibadan route in April and hopefully we believe we can complete it in December or January and open it up for passengers and business and we expect about 6, 000,000 tons of cargo out of the 30,000,000 tons of cargo that we have between Lagos and Kano. In terms of job creation, you can be rest assured that it will be in thousands,” he said.

He said the tracks of the Itakpe-Warri rail project were vandalised, but that the government was rebuilding them and building new stations.

He said: “We are also reconstructing a yard that was abandoned. All things being equal, the place should be ready soon, we gave them May as completion period but let’s say by August we should be commissioning.’’

Amaechi said there was enough security for passengers aboard any of the routes in the country.