Reconstruction of Port Harcourt- Maduguri narrow gauge railway to begin 2021 – Amaechi
The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, said on Friday the reconstruction and rehabilitation of Port Harcourt – Maiduguri (Eastern narrow gauge railway) would start in 2021.
Amaechi disclosed this in Abuja when he appeared before the Joint Committees of the Senate and House of Representatives for the defence of the ministry’s 2021 budget.
The minister said the rehabilitation of the gauge was part of the priority projects conceived by the Federal Government to achieve intermodal transportation and enhance economic growth in the country.
He also mentioned the construction of the central railway from Itakpe to Abuja and connection to new Warri Port as part of the priority projects.
According to him, the ministry was proposing a total capital vote of N205,161,882,492 to cover land (N204,316,793,527), marine (N845,088,965) and overhead (N358,799,999) in the 2021 budget for consideration.
The minister said the proposal was to ensure that significant progress is recorded on all ongoing projects as well as to complete and deliver modern railway services in the country.
“It is also for the creation of job opportunities for the citizenry,” Amaechi said.
He added that under the railway modernisation programme, the construction of Lagos – Ibadan Standard Gauge line had reached 92 percent completion.
The minister added: “However, for the project to achieve full loan drawn down from our co-financier, China EXIM Bank, and attain practical completion for intended purpose, some aspects of works involving the construction of the upgraded railway stations, signaling and telecommunication system among others have to be completed.
“These additional and extra works amounting to $656 million which is to be financed 100 percent by the Federal Government has been approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) for implementation.
“Therefore, in order not to forestall the progress of implementation, adequate fund needs to be provided in the 2021 budgetproposal to facilitate the completion of the project.’’