THE Federal Government has said it would not be able to complete the Eastern Railway Corridor Project before President Muhammadu Buhari leaves office in May 2023.
This is because the foreign loans needed to fund the project are no longer available.
Minister of Transportation, Mu’azu Sambo stated this after Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting in Abuja on Wednesday, December, 21.
“The truth of the matter is that, if there was a promise to deliver this line before the end of this administration, this promise is no longer feasible because funding has been a major challenge for this project,” the minister said.
Former Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi who inspected the commencement of the project, had put the budget at $3 billion.
Amaechi promised that the project will be delivered before the end of Buhari’s administration.
But speaking on Wednesday, Sambo further explained, “When this project was approved, it was approved on the promise that 85 per cent will be funded through foreign loans, while 15 per cent will be the counterpart for the national budget.
“Since that approval, we have not been able to obtain that 85 per cent foreign loans for this project. We have been funding it through the national budget on the basis of the 15 per cent counterpart funding of the Federal Government. Therefore, funding has been a major challenge for this project.”
In April 2022, the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation commenced construction of the the 2044.1km Port Harcourt-Maidiguri narrow guage project.
When executed, the rail line will traverse 14 states, linking Southern Nigeria to the North through the Eastern states.