President Muhammadu Buhari will flag off the construction of the Kano -Kaduna rail project within the next 2 weeks.
This follows the award of all contracts for the projects even though the loan for the project is not forthcoming from China as earlier planned.
The disclosure was made by the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, on Friday in Abuja, while speaking at the weekly Presidential Media briefing organised by the State House Media Unit.
Amaechi revealed that the Project would now be funded from the Ministry Budgetary allocation as the Federal Government would not continue to wait endlessly for the loan.
Amaechi said the Federal Government has already paid $218 million to the contractors, with an additional $100 million expected to be paid to them, making it $318 million.
The Minister said: “In the next two weeks, we should be launching and commencing immediately the construction of Kano-Kaduna rail project. The president will be launching it and then we will commence construction immediately.
“The reason why we are commencing construction immediately is that all the necessary contracts have been awarded. We have been waiting for the loan for too long from China and the money has not come.
“So, we decided to fund it from the budget. We already paid 218million dollars to them and we are about to pay another 100million dollars to make it about 318 million dollars.
“Kano-Kaduna is about 1.2billion dollars – the moment you pay about 318 million dollars; you must have paid one-third of the project. So, we believe that by the time we get the loan we must have funded up to 600million dollars.
“So, that should be able to take the project nearly halfway before the fund will come because if we continue to wait for the loan whether, from China or Europe, we may likely not complete it before we go,’’ he said.
The Minister disclosed that the government had so far paid N13 billion for the Port Harcourt – Maiduguri rail project, while another N10 billion would soon be paid to speed up action on the project.
Amaechi stated: “The way I am pursuing Port Harcourt – Maiduguri, Kano – Kaduna, and I am doing it like a native man. I think I have paid about N13billion for Port Harcourt – Maiduguri and I am about to pay another N10 billion.
“If I get it to N50billion, I am using the black-market rate. I don’t know what they pay at CBN. So, it will now be 2.9 billion dollars and no longer 3.020 billion dollars, and I will continue to do that until we finish the construction.’’