“…Work In Progress” – Amaechi Confirms South East Railway Project
“Everything is being done systematically; we cannot do all the projects at the same time,’ ‘ Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi told Senate Joint Committee on Land Transport, and Local and Foreign
“Currently, we are following due process for the one of South-East,” he said.
“Even the narrow gauge construction does not only concern the South East.
“The same narrow gauge transverses Port Harcourt to Maiduguri.
“So, for the railway you want to do from Port Harcourt to Maiduguri is about 12 billion dollars and that is one year budget of Nigeria. “What we are doing is as we get the loan approved, we execute the project.”
According to NTA, Amaechi denied the alleged exclusion of Eastern rail line from Port Harcourt to Maiduguri in the ongoing nationwide rail construction and modernisation, and said contrary to the claim of exclusion, there was only delay in the execution of the project.
He said the delay was due to bureaucratic bottlenecks caused by the Public Procurement Act, which as he emphasizes, “..takes a long time to conclude the process”
Amaechi, as stated in the report, explained that railway project was capital intensive, noting that the Federal Government did not have sufficient fund to implement the project across the country at the same time, and that following the paucity of funds, government decided to adopt a systematic approach in the project execution.
“Let me make it clear,” he said, “the country does not have the resources to do railway in every village. It is not possible. 2.7 billion dollars is one trillion Naira.
“I do not know what other thing the Senate expects from me on this project except to say that it is work in progress.”
The Chairman of the Committee, Sen. Gbenga Ashafa, urged the minister to ensure that no section of the country was excluded from the rail project.
The Senate had mandated its committee on Land Transport as well as Local and Foreign Debts, to summon the minister.