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Amaechi seeks $16bn for new rail lines

*Says more coaches to arrive December

 

The federal government needs about $16 billion to construct major rail lines, Minister of Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, has said.

The minister said this Thursday while speaking to State House correspondents after a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari.

“There are approvals for our sector but we have to look for the money because the money is not just there. We need about $16 billion dollars and we can’t just pluck that form the sky. We will try and see if we can get Public Private Partnership PPP, especially as it pertains to the seaports.

“There are two deep seaports that were approved; the Bonny and Warri deep seaports. As for the Port Harcourt railway industrial park, we should also be able to get that done through PPP even though I doubt if we will be able to get railway as PPP because it is quite expensive,” he said.

The minister said government would bring in more coaches and locomotives before the end of this year to boost rail transportation across the country.

He said a total of 10 locomotives are expected for Kaduna/Abuja and another seven for the Itakpe/Warri as that axis is expected to be ready by next year June.

“The President sleeps and wakes up thinking about our railways; therefore I must always see him and tell him how far we have gone. Once he hears the progress that is being made, he feels happy.

“He is also very pleased with what we have done in terms of the narrow gauge, between now and December; we are bringing in more locomotives, coaches and wagons, to ensure efficiency in the narrow gauge. We are expecting 10 for Kaduna-Abuja axis and another seven, which will hopefully go to Itakpe-Warii because we believe that by June, that axis should also come alive,” he said.

The minister assured that the problem of gridlock on the road leading to Apapa port in Lagos would be over by December..

“In terms of the narrow gauge, if not for a hitch, we would have commenced trucking cargo form Apapa seaport to Ebute-Metta-Lagos and takeaway the challenges we are having with that Apapa grid and bad road. That will happen before December,” he said.

About Abdullahi M. Gulloma  Abuja

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