President Muhammadu Buhari has sought the approval of the national assembly to borrow $5.851 billion for the upgrade of various sections of the Nigerian railway.
In a letter which Senate President Bukola Saraki and Yakubu Dogara, speaker of the house of representatives, read on Wednesday, Buhari pleaded with the lawmakers to endorse the loan on time in order to make the the country access the China-African fund provided for in the 2016-2018 external borrowing plan.
He said that the fund was limited and applications from all over the continent are funded on first come, first serve basis.
The president said these projects form part of the overall plan to resuscitate the rail transport across the country and drive economic growth.
“I wish to refer to my earlier letter with respect to the above subject and to inform the distinguished senate that the China Exim bank has approved our request for a loan to execute the Lagos-Kano railway modernisation project, Lagos-Ibadan segment for a sum of $1.231 billion,” the letter read.
“The China government has also informed us that the approval of the Lagos-Kano railway modernisation project, Kano-Kaduna segment and coastal railway project, the Lagos-Calabar segment are imminent.
“China Exim supported projects; Lagos-Kano modernisation projects, Lagos-Ibadan segment $1.231 billion; Lagos-Kano railway modernisation project, Kano-Kaduna segment $1.146 billion and coastal railway project, the Lagos-Calabar segment 3.474 billion, making a total of 5.851 billion.
“As you are aware the funds available under the China-African fund are limited and loan applications from all over Africa countries are funded based on first come, first serve and therefore there is an urgent need to sign these loans as soon as they are approved or we may loose out in the event that we delayed in signing the loan agreement.
“These loans form part of the overall money for the rail strategy. We are in the process of completing the concession of the port Harcourt Maiduguri line to immediately link the eastern part of the nation.
“We fully intend to source further concessioning funding to ultimately upgrade this critical line to high speed standard gauge. These projects form the overall plan to resuscitate the rail transport across the nation and thereby drive inclusive growth.”