Nigeria’s transport minister has said that the federal government has been waiting for a year for a Chinese government loan of $5.3bn, which is needed to start building the planned railway from Ibadan in the country’s south to Kano in the north.
Minister Rotimi Amaechi said on a television programme on Saturday that the project would start as soon as the loan was approved.
The government applied for the loan when it awarded the contract to build the line to state-owned contractor, China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC), a year ago.
This project will extend the line nearing completion between Lagos on the coast and Ibadan, located some 130km inland to the north.
CCECC announced the completion of track laying for this line in April last year. It started that project in March 2017.
In 2018 the Nigerian government also approved a project to extend the line from Ibadan further north to Kaduna, some 700km away. That is expected to cost around $6.7bn.
"We are waiting for the Chinese government and bank to approve the $5.3 billion to construct the Ibadan-Kano. What was approved a year ago was the contract," Amaechi said, reports news site This Day Live.
"The moment I announced that the federal government has awarded a contract of $5.3 billion to China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) to construct Ibadan-Kano, they assume the money has come in, no.
"Up to now, we have not gotten the money a year after we have applied for the loan. We have almost finished the one of Lagos-Ibadan. If we don’t get the loan now, we can’t commence," he said.
Image: Â©GCR, illustration by Denis Carrier