The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi on Sunday said the Kano-Maradi (Niger Republic) rail project will cost the Nigerian government $1.9bn.
“The project is going to cost us $1.9bn and we will source it from mostly Europe,” the Minister said on Channels Television’s Sunday Politics.
Amaechi who is a former Governor of Rivers State, noted, however, that the country has not secured the money, stressing that “we are about concluding.”
On how long it will take the country to repay the loan, the 58-year-old explained that it is not within the jurisdiction of his ministry but noted that the railway project will commence on Tuesday.
“That is the responsibility of the Ministry of Finance. When we would pay; what are the terms of agreement for the loan and all that would be the responsibility of the Ministry of Finance,” the All Progressives Congress (APC) chieftain added.
“So, that question can be directed to the Minister for Finance. For us in Transportation, our job is to work with the Ministry of Finance to procure the loan and commence construction and we think we would commence construction on Tuesday.”
He explained that the project will open up the country to more investment, arguing that it is for the best interest of Nigeria to the Kano-Maradi railway to be constructed.
“The interest is national; the interest is about Nigeria. The Maradi terminal is just 20 kilometres away from Nigeria; just 20 kilometres. So, there is no huge investment like Nigerians are thinking,” Amaechi said.
The Minister who also spoke about politics in the country, dismissed suggestions that he is being touted as the next president, noting that only God knows Nigeria’s next leader.
“I am still the Minister for Transportation and only God can tell who will be the President of Nigeria in 2023,” he added.