The Minister of Transport, Mr Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi, Wednesday, announced that General Electric, GE, would invest $2 billion in the country’s rail projects.
The minister, who made this disclosure while speaking with CNBC, said the Federal Government was in search of Public-Private Partnership, PPP, funding in the Nigerian transportation sector.
According to him, “GE is already in; we are trying to get the government agencies to allow us negotiate with GE. The company is going to bring in over $2billion in the Nigerian railway sector, in which they are going to revive the Lagos-Kano narrow gauge and revive the Port Harcourt-Maiduguri narrow gauge by private investment.
“It is good that such kind of funds will come into the economy, it will create employment, it will increase business and everybody will be part of the process.?
“The government does not need to bring all the funds. What government is doing here is to initiate it, there are two things we are doing there; we will start with the construction of Lagos-Kano and Lagos-Calabar.’’
Amaechi, who reiterated that President Muhammadu Buhari would flag off the Abuja-Kaduna rail line early July, stated that government would commence work on the Lagos-Ibadan segment of the Lagos-Kano this year.
“We are taking a loan from China EXIM bank, the loan is not partnership. But one of the requirements for which we will take the loan is that the contractor must come from China, that we have fulfilled by engaging CCECC.
“We will be looking at about $3.5 billion and we should be able to employ as many people as possible to do that construction. Our plan is to ensure that CCECC is able to conclude it between two to three years,” he said.
‘’We are going to invite as many private investors as possible to see how they can assist the country achieved its rails projects.
“If government takes the Lagos-Kano and takes the Lagos-Calabar, we expect the others to be PPP funding.
“We believe that people know how big the Nigerian market is and that once you invest your money, the chances are that you will recoup that money, whether by freight or by passenger transportation”, he added.
Amaechi, who gave a load down of the amount the country had saved from the negotiation of the projects, said: “Basically, the contract from Lagos to Calabar was awarded initially at $11.97 billion, we had to negotiate that one and that was why we couldn’t submit it the same time we submitted the Lagos-Kano.
‘’We negotiated that one from $11.97 billion to $11.17 billion, saving the country $800million.’’