Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
The Federal Government has revealed that it is currently negotiating a loan of about $6 billion with China Exim Bank for the construction of the Ibadan-Kano railway line.
Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, disclosed this at an interactive session with newsmen, in Abuja, on Tuesday.
According to the minister, “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.
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“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,” he said.
The former governor of Rivers State equally spoke on the approval for waterways security, noting that $195 million had been approved, expressing confidence that it would help reduce crime in the maritime sector.
Amaechi continued, “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 have put the processes in place, we will ensure that there is security on our waters,” he noted.