Rotimi Amaechi, minister of transportation, says President Muhammadu Buhari “sleeps and wakes up thinking about the nation’s railway.
Amaechi said this after meeting with the president on Thursday.
He said his ministry was expecting a total of 17 locomotives to boost rail transportation.
“The president sleeps and wakes up thinking about our railways; therefore I must always see him and tell him how far we have gone,” he said.
“Once he hears the progress that is being made, he feels happy. Between now and December; we are bringing in more locomotives, coaches and wagons, to ensure efficiency in the narrow gauge. We are expecting 10 for Kaduna-Abuja axis and another seven, which will hopefully go to Itakpe-Warii because we believe that by June, that axis should also come alive.”
Amaechi said his ministry would have to source $16 billion for some projects, especially the Warri and Bonny deep seaports.
“There are approvals for our sector but we have to look for the money because the money is not just there. We need about 16 billion dollars and we can’t just pluck that from the sky,” he said.
“We will try and see if we can get public-private partnership (PPP), especially as it pertains to the seaports. There are two deep seaports that were approved; the Bonny and Warri deep seaports.
“As for the Port Harcourt railway industrial park, we should also be able to get that done through PPP even though I doubt if we will be able to get railway as PPP because it is quite expensive.”
He also revealed that there were plans to dredge the Calabar seaport through public-private partnership.
Amaechi said the gridlock currently being experienced in the Apapa area of Lagos will be over by December.
“In terms of the narrow gauge, if not for a hitch, we would have commenced trucking cargo from Apapa seaport to Ebute-Metta-Lagos and take away the challenges we are having with that Apapa grid and bad road. That will happen before December,” he said.