The Federal Government has replied Senate, on exclusion of the South-East geo political zone in ongoing rail projects.
The rail projects are being financed with $5.8 billion loan from China-EXIM Bank, sourced by the federal government, for the construction of standard guage lines across the country.
The loan, which will be repaid by all the geo-political zones, including the South-East, will fund standard guage lines from Lagos-Kano, Kano-Kaduna, Lagos-Ibadan, and Lagos Calabar.
The new route is an improvement from an original plan, which includes the South East, which links major cities in the country.
This was contained in a statement by the Director of Press, in the Ministry of Transportation, Yetunde Sonaike.
On Tuesday, Senate summoned Tranportation Minister, Rotimi Amaechi, to explain why the eastern corridor of the country’s rail lines was excluded from the proposed loan from China.
President Muhammadu Buhari had, in April, sent a letter to the National Assembly, where he sought approval to borrow $5.851 billion, to upgrade various sections of the country’s railway.
Senate’s resolution was sequel to a motion by Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, from Abia State.
Abaribe noted that the required loan only covers rehabilitation of a section of the country’s rail lines.
“The eastern section of the rail segment, which has a link between the South East to the North Eastern parts of the rail line is completely excluded from the request.
“The loan, being federal government borrowing, will be paid for, by all sections of the country. Therefore, every section of the country should be taken into consideration.
“There is a railway Masterplan, developed by the ministry of Transport and of which such plans has not been referred to in the current borrowing plan.”
Nevertheless, the federal government gave details of major rail projects across the country and insisted the South East has been captured in the plan, yesterday.
“The Lagos – Calabar will traverse Lagos-Shagamu-Ore-Benin City-Sapele-Warri-Yenegoa with siding to Otuoke-Port Harcourt-Aba-Uyo-calabar and branch line from Benin City-Abudu-Onitsha including Onitsha rail bridge.
The Lagos – Kano rail Project will traverse Lagos-Abeokuta-Ibadan-Oshogbo-Ilorin-Jebba-Minna-Kaduna-Zaria-Kano with branch line from Minna-Abuja and Abuja-Kaduna.”
The ministry also stated that the bank loan would be used to fund three segments from the rail project.
“Lagos-Ibadan: Lagos-Abeokuta-Ibadan with extension to Apapa Port Complex (Segment 2 of Lagos – Kano), Kano-Kaduna (Segment 3A of Lagos – Kano) and Calabar – Port Harcourt: Port Harcourt-Aba-Uyo-Calabar with extension to Onne Deep Sea Port (Segment 1 of the Coastal rail Line).
“From the foregoing, it can be deduced that the federal government rail projects touches various sections of the country and therefore no section is or will be left out. The administration of President Muhammadu Buhari remains committed to serving the nation and determined to reviving the rail infrastructure thereby ensuring ease of movement of people and cargoes within the country. The rail project is aimed at fast- tracking economic diversification as well as optimising the Federal Government change agenda in the transportation sector which will serve as an economic index for growth and development,” the statement added.