The Federal Government has disclosed that it is currently seeking a loan of about $6bn from the China Exim Bank for the construction of the Ibadan-Kano rail line.
The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, who disclosed this at an interactive session with journalists in Abuja on Tuesday, also stated that $195m had been approved to secure the waterways and expressed hope that it would help reduce crime in the maritime sector.
“We are currently in negotiations with the China Exim Bank to get about $6bn to do (rail lines) from Ibadan to Kano. It is a difficult decision. Why is it difficult? The money required is about $8bn to do a double track but the Chinese are insisting that they can’t fund the double track.
“They are asking us to do a single track and they want it at Minna so that instead of going from Minna to Kaduna, we should go from Minna to Abuja and then join it from Abuja to Kaduna.”
He added, “But there are those who argue that we should not accept that, rather we should tell them (Chinese) to fund it in segments. This, however, does not make economic sense.”
On the security of the waterways, Amaechi said, “The Federal Government has approved the sum of $195m…to hire an Israeli company to help train our security personnel to help man our water ways.
“Currently there are criminal activities in our waterways which has made it that in some parts of the country, people charge what they call war insurance. War insurance means that you go to an area where there is (seems to be) war, but you know that there is no war there.
“But in such areas criminal activities are taking place in the water ways. So with the approval, after we’ve put the processes in place, we will ensure that there is security on our waters.”