Lagos-Ibadan Rail: We Have Borrowed $2.5bn From China Exim Bank – Amaechi

 

The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, has said that the Federal Government has borrowed about $2.5billion for the construction of a railway linking Lagos to Ibadan.

He stated this during an exclusive interview on Channels Television’s Newsnight which aired on Monday night.

“If you look at the whole total cost, it will be $2.5 to $2.6 billion that we have borrowed from China Exim bank,” he said

The Minister explained that the Federal Government’s decision to extend the rail line to the nation’s seaports is for the economic benefit associated with it.

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He added, “But at the end of the day, the project is costing about $2 billion. The government is coughing out more than just $200 million. We are bringing out about $700 million because we have to end to the seaport in Apapa which was not part of the original design.

“So we had to take about 45kilometres rail from Ebute-Metta into Apapa seaport. Everything together is about $2 billion. There is an additional one they are going to bring to connect Tincan Island Seaport to Apapa, that will be some extra cost which we have to borrow from them.

“They also lent us about $1.4 billion for the Lagos-Ibadan while the Federal Government had to cough out about $200 million to make it $1.6 billion.”

A file photo of the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, during an interview on a Channels Television programme.

 

Amaechi noted that the Federal Executive Council had approved the two basic loan facilities presented by the Ministry of Transporation.

He stated that the administration of ex-President Goodluck Jonathan had borrowed $500 million for the Kaduna-Abuja rail line.

According to him, since the inception of President Muhammadu Buhari’s government in 2015, the rail line “took us about $1 billion so we had to cough out the remaining money.”

“When we came, part of the project was abandoned for the inability of the government to produce the counterpart funding. So what the government did was to release the counterpart funding and money for the extra work we needed to do.

“We had to buy the locomotives and coaches to enable us to commence commercial activities. For the Kaduna-Abuja, they lent $500 million,” he stated further.

Buhari Revived Nigeria’s Decayed Infrastructure In Five Years, Says Amaechi

 

The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi on Friday said President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration has embarked on the rehabilitation of decayed infrastructure in the last five years.

He stated this in Calabar during the 34 convocation lecture of the University of Calabar where he was the guest lecturer.

Amaechi, who is also the former Rivers State Governor, asked Nigerians to support the current administration for its efforts in national survival.

“The Buhari administration has embarked on massive rehabilitation of our decayed national infrastructure in the last five years,” he said.

“Throughout the federation, major highways are being rehabilitated and new ones built. Critical bridges are being built to link major ethnic-economic nerve centres.”

READ ALSO: Buhari Meets Former Head Of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar Behind Closed-Doors

The Minister also reiterated President Buhari’s commitment to revamping the nation’s agricultural sector, noting that dams and irrigation works are being undertaken to improve the availability of water to farms to aid food production.

The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, speaks during UNICAL’s Convocation Lecture in Cross River State on March 26, 2021.

 

Speaking on the railway, Amaechi revealed that President Buhari inherited a contract of over $10 billion to construct the rail project.

While noting that the project would terminate at Calabar, he assured the people of the state that the work would commence before the end of the year.

He added, “The President inherited a contract of $11.1 billion to construct a railway from Lagos to terminate at Calabar. So just wait, before the end of this year if you don’t see contractors solve the problem of your road.”

The Minister also called on Nigerians to support President Buhari for his efforts in national cohesion and unity.

Kano-Maradi Rail Line Will Improve Competitiveness, Ease Of Doing Business, Says Amaechi

 

The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi has stressed the importance of the construction of the Kano-Maradi rail line, saying that once completed, it will improve Nigeria’s competitiveness in the ease of doing business.

The minister who was a guest on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily on Tuesday, said this while addressing questions around the project.

According to him, the feasibility study was not done by President Muhammadu Buhari but by Former President Goodluck Jonathan.

“This feasibility study was not done by Buhari, it was done by Goodluck Jonathan and I don’t see anything wrong with the feasibility study neither do I see anything wrong with the decision by the Goodluck Jonathan’s government to proceed with a rail from Kano to Maradi,” Amaechi said.

Read Also: Kano-Maradi Rail Project To Cost Nigeria $1.9bn, Says Rotimi Amaechi

“The reason I think that Goodluck Jonathan did that is because of the economic liability of that route”.

“To reduce the cost of doing business and improve our competitiveness, to ensure that Lagos, Kano and other states in Nigeria are able to gain from the economic activities emanating from the movement of goods to and from the Niger Republic, we have to connect the rail from Kano to Maradi”.

The railway project is expected to connect three Nigerian Northern states: Kano, Katsina and Jigawa, and then terminate at Maradi, Niger Republic.

Buhari To Flag-Off Kano-Maradi, Kano-Dutse Rail Projects On Tuesday

President Buhari Mourns Veteran Industrialist, Emmanuel Adesoye
File photo President Muhammadu Buhari

 

President Muhammadu Buhari will on Tuesday perform the ground-breaking ceremony of the Kano-Maradi, Kano-Dutse Railway Projects.

The Minister of Transportation disclosed this on Friday via his Twitter handle.

“We are pleased to announce the ground breaking of the Kano-Maradi, Kano-Dutse Railway Project, slated for Tuesday. Our President, Muhammadu Buhari will do the honours. Work begins,” he said.

Earlier in September 2020, the Federal Executive Council approved about $2 billion for the rail line and the subsequent signing of the contract documents for the commencement of the project last month.

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Also last month, the Federal Government had during the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding with Mota-Engil Group, the contractors to the project, disclosed that the Kano-Maradi railway project would be completed within 36 months.

The railway project is expected to connect three Nigerian Northern states namely Kano, Katsina and Jigawa, and then terminate at Maradi, Niger Republic.

$656m Needed To Complete Lagos-Ibadan Railway – Amaechi

File Photo of the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi

 

The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi has said the Federal Government requires the sum of $656 million to complete work on the Lagos-Ibadan railway project.

Amaechi disclosed this on Friday while defending his ministry’s 2021 budget at the Senate.

He explained that the amount is needed to put the necessary infrastructure in place for the project to serve its intended purpose.

“Some aspects of works involving the construction of upgraded railway station, signalling and telecommunication systems, power supply scheme and the construction of pedestrian and overpass bridges have to be completed,” he said.

“These additional and extra works amounting to $656 million which is to be financed 100 percent by the Federal Government of Nigeria has been approved by the Federal Executive Council for implementation.”

The Minister also told the lawmakers that the construction of the project is 92 percent close to completion.

He however lamented that the work was disrupted following the #EndSARS protests that shook most parts of the country.

Amaechi noted that the Ibadan-Kano railway project also required an injection of $645.3million as advance payment to enable the Federal Government to complete its loan signing agreement with the China Exim Bank.

According to him, the Ministry would commence the reconstruction and rehabilitation of the Port-Harcourt-Maiduguri Eastern Narrow Gauge railways in 2021.

Buhari Allows Us To Take Loans, We Are Borrowing To Develop – Amaechi

The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi speaks on the railway during a special programme aired on Channels Television on October 1, 2020.

 

The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, says President Muhammadu Buhari has given his approval for Nigeria to take loans.

Amaechi disclosed this during a special programme which held on Channels Television on Thursday to mark Nigeria’s diamond independence anniversary.

According to him, the borrowings were done for infrastructural development in several parts of the country.

“The President (Muhammadu Buhari) allows us to borrow and we are borrowing to develop and things will change,” he said.

Speaking on rail transportation, the Minister said Nigeria had money from the excess crude oil account before Buhari’s administration in 2015.

He argued that when crude oil was sold at $120 per barrel, the total amount meant to develop the nation’s railway across the 36 states and the FCT was between $35 to $40billion.

“It wasn’t like this before. We had money to construct this railway. The total fund that we needed to complete the entire railway in the country was about $36 to $40billion.

“We had this kind of money when we were selling crude at $110 to $120 per barrel. Now, the money is no longer there,” Amaechi said.

While reiterating the Federal Government’s commitment to delivering laudable projects for infrastructural developments, the Minister asked Nigerians for more time.

He however explained that logistics is crucial in dealing with economic development in the country for the well-being of the masses.

Amaechi Meets Contractors, Inspects Lagos-Ibadan Rail Project

Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi during an inspection of the Lagos-Ibadan rail project on Wednesday, September 16, 2020.

 

The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi is currently on a monthly inspection tour of the 156km Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge rail project.

The train departed the Iddo station before midday with the minister and top management staff of the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) stopping at various stations along the project line to get updates from the contractors on the quality and progress report of the construction work.

The rail tracks for the 156km rail project have been completed but the stations are still under construction.

Trading along the rail tracks still seem to be a challenge as observed at Agege and Oshodi stations where traders are seen in clusters close to the rail line.

Traders at the Lagos-Ibadan rail line on Wednesday, September 16, 2020.

 

The Lagos-Ibadan railway, one of the major projects embarked on by the Federal Government, is being handled by the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC).

Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi during an inspection of the Lagos-Ibadan rail project on Wednesday, September 16, 2020.

APC Caretaker Committee Chairman, Buni Reconciles Amaechi, Sylva

APC Caretaker Committee Chairman, Mai Mala Buni, poses for a photograph with the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, and Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, at the party’s secretariat in Abuja.

 

The Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Caretaker/Extra-Ordinary National Convention Planning Committee, Governor Mai Mala Buni, has reconciled the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, and Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva.

Amaechi and Sylva, who have both disagreed for a long time, were seen together walking shoulder to shoulder in public as a result of Governor Buni’s effort.

The former governors were reconciled at a closed-door meeting with the governors on Monday at the APC National Secretariat in Abuja.

During the meeting, Governor Buni urged the ministers to further reconcile aggrieved party members in the South-South ahead of the governorship election in Edo State.

According to a statement by the Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the party, Yekini Nabena, the reconciliation will help not just in Edo State, but also the forthcoming governorship poll in Ondo State.

Read Full Statement Below:

Governor Buni-led APC Caretaker Committee Tasks Amaechi, Sylva on Party’s Reconciliation, Repositioning Efforts

The Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Caretaker/Extra-Ordinary National Convention Planning Committee, Governor Mai Mala Buni on Monday met with the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi and Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva at the Party’s National Secretariat.

At the meeting which was held behind closed doors, Governor Mai Mala Buni charged the ministers to work together and lead the Party’s efforts to reconcile aggrieved party members and reposition the Party, particularly in the South-South region.

Ahead of the Governorship elections in Niger Delta states of Edo and Ondo as well as legislative By-Elections in Bayelsa and Cross River states, Governor Mai Mala Buni charged the Ministers to play lead roles in bringing together party members and stakeholders to ensure that the APC is victorious.

“We have agreed that both of us will work together”, the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi told journalists while accompanied by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva after the meeting with Governor Mai Mala Buni.

This indeed is another solid milestone in the achievement of the mandate given to the Governor Buni-led Caretaker/Extra-Ordinary National Convention Planning Committee to reconcile party members and reposition the party.

SIGNED:
Yekini Nabena
Deputy National Publicity Secretary
All Progressives Congress (APC)

Amaechi, Reps In Heated Argument Over Chinese Loans

 

A heated argument ensued on Monday between the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi and the Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Treaties, Agreements and Protocols, Nicholas Ossai.

The committee is investigating the $500billion loan agreement between Nigeria and China for the Federal Government’s rail projects.

While the public hearing was ongoing, Amaechi said Nigeria was very unlikely to get the remaining loans from China because of the investigations being carried out by the House.

He accused the Committee of pursuing a political agenda, alleging that Ossai had approached him on the South-South Rail Project.

Following the increasing rise in Amaechi’s tone, the Speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila, stormed the venue of the hearing and called for a 30-minute break.

The minister was later discharged and asked to reappear before the lawmakers on Tuesday at 12 noon.

This is the second time the Minister would be summoned before the Committee over the foreign loan meant for railway projects.

On July 29, he appealed to the National Assembly to halt its probe of the 500 million dollars loan from the Chinese government.

If PDP Comes To Power, Our Economy Will Crash Again – Amaechi
Mr Rotimi Amaechi (file)

 

Amaechi warned that the loan which is meant for the completion of the Federal Government’s rail projects may be truncated by the Chinese government if it suspects that there is a disagreement between the executive and the legislature.

He also argued that constant probing or investigation may suggest that an arm of the government does not agree with the loan and may cause the Chinese government to withdraw it.

Amaechi noted that while the lawmakers have the powers to conduct such a probe, he begged them to do so after Nigeria has obtained the loan to prevent the proposed projects from suffering a setback.

Amaechi Appears Before Reps Over Chinese Loans

A file photo of the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, during an interview on a Channels Television programme.

 

The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi has appeared before the House of Representatives Public Hearing on Treaties and Protocols.

Speaking during the hearing in Abuja on Monday, Amaechi disagreed with the committee, saying he is unaware of a N33 billion contract by the Ministry of Transport but only a $1.6 billion contract.

He said the action of the committee is political.

The minister who appeared before the committee for a second time maintained his position that Nigeria is now very unlikely to get the remaining loans from China due to the investigations being carried out by the House.

According to him, the committee probe suggested that the different arms of government do no support the loan.

The committee is also interested in the number of Nigerians and Chinese involved in the Federal Government rail project.

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Amaechi’s comments come three weeks after he begged the lawmakers to halt its probe of the 500 million dollars loan from the Chinese government.

He warned that the loan which is meant for the completion of the Federal Government’s rail projects may be truncated by the Chinese government if it suspects that there is a disagreement between the executive and the legislature.

While noting the lawmakers have the powers to conduct such a probe, he appealed to them to do so after Nigeria has obtained the loan to prevent the proposed projects from suffering a setback.

“The investigation being carried out by the National Assembly may frustrate the loan agreement between us and China on the Port Harcourt to Maiduguri rail project.

“We have the approval to construct the Lagos-Ibadan, Lagos-Kano and Lagos-Calabar rail lines; we are also at the point of negotiating for the loans.”

“Summoning us to the National Assembly to come and address the loans would look like the government is no longer interested in the loan,” the minister said.

 

China Loans: Why I Told Reps Not To Probe Too Much – Amaechi

The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi speaks on the controversial Chinese Loan during an interview on Politics Today on August 4, 2020.

 

The Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi, has reacted to the controversy trailing the Federal Government’s planned securement of $500million loan from China.

The House of Representatives had raised an alarm over clauses in Article 8 (1) of the Commercial Loan Agreement signed between Nigeria and the Export-Import Bank of China.

In the said agreement, Nigeria stands to concede her sovereignty to China should there be a default in the repayment of the $400million for the Nigerian National Information and Communication Technology Infrastructure Backbone phase 2 project signed in 2018.

 

READ ALSO: Falana Calls For Probe Of Conditions In Nigeria’s $79bn Foreign Loans

The controversial clause in the agreement signed by the Federal Ministry of Finance on behalf of Nigeria and Chinese bank on September 5, 2018 provides:

“The borrower hereby irrevocably provides waives any immunity on the grounds of sovereign or otherwise for itself or its property in connection with any arbitration pursuit to Article 85 thereof with the enforcement of any arbitral award  pursuit thereto except for the military asset and diplomatic asset.”

But Amaechi, who appeared as a guest on Channels Television’s Politics Today on Tuesday, explained that he told the National Assembly members not to probe the loan issue too much in order not to scare the lender.

“The reason why I said that is because we have already applied for $5.3billion to execute the rail from Ibadan to Kano. We are about applying for about $3billion to execute the rail from Port Harcourt to Maiduguri.

“Don’t forget the National Assembly approved that loan. It is unconstitutional and impeachable if you take a loan without the approval of the National Assembly. So the same National Assembly that approved the loan is now questioning the same loan and the terms of the loan having looked at it before.

“If I am the lender, I will be worried. If they get worried, they will say ‘No, we will not approve the remaining loans you have applied for,” he said.

Amaechi who described the loan as the cheapest so far, said the Chinese loan is a concessionary loans at 2.8 percent interest.

He explained that before meeting China, the Federal Government had already approached other countries who didn’t approve the request on the ground that they didn’t have money.

Minister Of Transportation Appeals To Reps To Stop Probe Of $500m Chinese Loan

A file photo of the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, during an interview on a Channels Television programme.

 

The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, has appealed to the National Assembly to halt its probe of the 500 million dollars loan from the Chinese government.

Amaechi made the appeal during an investigative hearing of the House of Representatives Committee on Treaties and Protocols on Tuesday in Abuja.

He said, “The investigation being carried out by the National Assembly may frustrate the loan agreement between us and China on the Port Harcourt to Maiduguri rail project.

“We have the approval to construct the Lagos-Ibadan, Lagos-Kano and Lagos-Calabar rail lines; we are also at the point of negotiating for the loans.”

“Summoning us to the National Assembly to come and address the loans would look like the government is no longer interested in the loan,” the minister added.

According to him, the loan which is meant for the completion of the Federal Government’s rail projects may be truncated by the Chinese government if it suspects that there is a disagreement between the executive and the legislature.

He also argued that constant probing or investigation may suggest that an arm of the government does not agree with the loan and may cause the Chinese government to withdraw it.

Amaechi noted that while the lawmakers have the powers to conduct such a probe, he begged them to do so after Nigeria has obtained the loan to prevent the proposed projects from suffering a setback.

He said, “If tomorrow we are unable to construct Port Harcourt to Maiduguri railway because we didn’t get the loan, it is because of the investigation by NASS.

“I told the National Assembly that they can investigate but they should allow us get the loan first; if they stop the work from Ibadan to Kano, it is because of the investigations, same with Lagos to Calabar railway.”

“If you think there is corruption, investigate corruption. What we are saying is that we should conclude negotiation first because there is pressure affecting the Chinese government in which they are talking to us directly. So, for me, what is primary here should be national interest,” the minister stated.

The lawmakers had raised an alarm over loan agreements being entered into by the Nigerian Government with China.

They warned that Nigeria would concede some of its sovereignty to the Asian nation should it default in the repayment plan.

The House had, however, stated that it would review loan facilities already taken by Nigeria from China and other countries.