The commencement of work at the Ibadan to Kano rail line has been stalled after it was approval by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) due to non-availability of a loan expected from China Exim Bank for the project.
This was revealed by the minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, who explained that work will begin on Ibadan-Kano standard guage rail line as soon as the loan is approved by China Exim Bank
According to Amaechi, who spoke on the sideline of the inspection of the Lagos to Ibadan rail line, "The Ibadan to Kano has been awarded. The only thing that is delaying it is the loan. Once we get it, we will start from Kano to Kaduna and see how we will go from Ibadan to Ilorin.
"If we do get the loan for Ibadan to Kano, we won't have delays. We can then start quickly from Kano to Kaduna and Ibadan to Ilorin so we can quickly finish."
The project is part of the original plan of Lagos to Kano rail, and while Abuja to Kaduna has been completed, Lagos to Ibadan segment is almost nearing completion. Amaechi also expressed concerns over delay of work at the Lagos to Ibadan rail line, noting that the work stopped when the last government was dissolved.
He said: "The contractor has not done too well. I used the phrase too well because at a time, they did us proud by trying to push this job. They claim that at the end of the last government, we were owing them some money and we had not given approvals for the extra and additional jobs. But that is not an excuse because we will still have given the approval. So they have slowed down so badly. We need to get them to that speed that they were before the last government was dissolved. We paid them on Friday. The cabinet and president has approved the extra works so they have no excuse now."
On the coastal rail, he said: "I am from Rivers state and it is important that we do that. We already applied for a loan. If we get the loan, will start the segment from Port Harcourt to Warri and from Benin to Onitsha. The loan will be from China but not China EXIM Bank."
Meanwhile, the Minister of State for Transportation, Gbemisola Saraki who was also on the inspection train expressed enthusiasm over the work that has been done within four years of President Muhammadu Buhari's administration and promised to bring in her experience to ensure that the Maritime sector perform optimally.