Some Railway projects have stalled due to lack of funding


Several railway projects worth over $21.3bn (about N16 trillion) across the country have stalled due to lack of funding.

The development is threatening the federal government’s railway modernisation programme designed to connect all states of the federation.

All the projects were incorporated in the 25-year railway roadmap unveiled during the administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo which will expire in 2025.

The $11.17bn Lagos-Calabar coastal railway project which had been in the pipeline for almost two decades was in 2021 approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) during the Muhammadu Buhari-led administration.

In 2016, China and Nigeria signed an agreement for the over $11 billion contract to build the coastal railway which was to start before the end of 2018.

While the project did not take off, the federal government at the same time flagged off the Lagos-Ibadan project which is 157km and completed it in record time.

The government also did the groundbreaking for the Kano-Katsina-Jibiya-Maradi-Kano-Dutse line which is being funded by a consortium of European financial institutions.

This was followed by the ground-breaking for the reconstruction of the Eastern rail corridor, the Port Harcourt-Maiduguri rail, at the cost of $3.01bn.

in March 2021, the former president flagged off the rehabilitation of the old narrow gauge from Port Harcourt-Maiduguri Eastern Railway line covering over 2000 kilometres.

In February 2021, the former Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, inaugurated the 284km Kano-Maradi rail line which construction was to be completed in 2023.

The railway line links Katsina, Kano, Jigawa with Maradi, Niger Republic.

After securing a $1.5bn loan from China to complete the Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge which is Lot two of the Lagos-Kano Standard Gauge, China is said to be non-committal on providing the loan for the Ibadan-Kano Lane.

This was why the federal government again segmented the project starting with Kaduna-Kano Standard Gauge which is being funded internally.

“The loan approval is the issue. Once we can get the loan approval, we are ready to start the work. Coastal rail is also facing the same loan issue.

“For the purpose of economic revival and revolution, we have to complete the Lagos-Kano Standard Gauge which stops at Ibadan. Narrow gauge cannot support the economy to a large extent,” the source said.

As of September 2022, the federal government is said to owe China $4.09bn while China has not made a commitment on the loans for the coastal rail and Ibadan-Kano rail.

The new Minister of Transportation, Senator Saidu Alkali, who is inheriting the various railway projects, however, promised to ensure that the contracts were not stalled.

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