The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, has said the $1.9 billion needed to finance the Kano-Maradi (Niger Republic) railway project will be sourced from Europe.
Amaechi, who disclosed this on a Channels Television programme, Sunday Politics, said the transport ministry was currently working with the Ministry of Finance to procure the loan.
“The project is going to cost us $1.9bn and we will source it from mostly Europe,” Amaechi said.
Some of Nigeria’s rail projects are currently being funded by loans from China
On the terms of the loan, Amaechi said: “That is the responsibility of the ministry of finance. When we would pay; what are the terms of agreement for the loan and all that would be the responsibility of the ministry of finance.
“So, that question can be directed to the minister for finance. For us in transportation, our job is to work with the ministry of finance to procure the loan and commence construction and we think we would commence construction on Tuesday.”
The 248km railway project will start from Kano, through Dambatta, Kazaure, Daura, Mashi, Katsina, Jibia and terminate in Maradi.
The project was met with criticism in some quarters after approval from the federal executive council, FEC.
Explaining the rationale for the project, Lai Mohammed, the Minister for Information and Culture, had said: “The wisdom behind it is that Niger, Chad and Burkina Faso are all landlocked; meaning that they do not have access to sea.
“What this means is that most of their imports and exports have to go through neighbouring countries’ seaports like Cotonou in Benin Republic, Togo and Ghana.
“Because we do not have a road infrastructure that will encourage Niger Republic to use our seaports, we believe that we will be able to take over their imports and exports with the rail linkage. The simple reason, therefore, is to strengthen the economy of Nigeria.
“For now, Niger Republic uses seaport of Benin Republic, Togo and Ghana and the exporters go through the stress, challenges and time of being on the road from Cotonu, Lome or Accra to their country.
“But by the time we link them from Katsina to Maradi, it will be easier for us to take over the business. There is nothing like territorial expansion, it is purely economic, we are taking advantage of the proximity and efficiency of the rail system.”