Rail project: FG turns to Europe for loan after delay in China

The federal government is currently making efforts to obtain loans from Europe following the delay in China.

China’s loans have been deployed in railway infrastructure, considered one of the major achievements of the current administration.

Earlier in the week, reports surfaced that Transport Minister Rotimi Amaechi said Nigeria was having difficulty getting loans from China.

When asked to confirm the authenticity of the reports after Wednesday’s Federal Executive Council meeting, Amaechi said, “Actually, that’s why there’s a delay. We were waiting for the Chinese to grant us the loans we had requested and until today they have not responded. They kept delaying us – will the delay prolong our term? The answer is no. We went to Standard Chartered Bank and although they have completed financial close they have approved some level of funding.

“We are also pursuing the Port Harcourt-Maiduguri line with Standard Chartered Bank. The Lagos-Kano will come partly from Standard Chartered Bank and partly from some commercial banks in China.

When asked to divulge the amount of money that would come from Europe, he replied: “I don’t have that figure here, I have to go back to the office.

“Remember we have about three railway projects that have not yet started construction and they include Port Harcourt-Maiduguri, Kano-Maradi and then Abuja-Warri.”

The minister added that consultancy services had been approved at a total cost of $183.7 million for the contractors, including GIX Engineers Infrastructure Excellence/Yaroso & Partnership Ltd, Core Consulting Engineering Plc. This is for Abuja to Warri.

“For consultancy services for the supervision of the Port Harcourt-Maiduguri Railway, with branch lines to Bonny Deep Seaport and Port Harcourt Industrial Park and then to Owerri. We have Kyari Consults SDMBHD/Jamood Global Services Limited at $97.5 million. The first is $38.4 million.

“Consultancy services for the supervision of the Kano-Katsina-Jibia-Maradi railway line to TEAM (Technics Engineering Architecture Marketing Nigeria Limited) and this for 47,670,000 million dollars. All are for 36 months.

“The second is that the cabinet has approved a concession agreement for the Ministry of Transport to grant the river port of Onitsha to a company called Inversal Elysium Consortium. They are to run the river port for 30 years.

Findings from the Daily Trust show that China is still funding some projects.

Mary I. Bruner