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Following the recent comment made by the federal government that about $16 billion is required to actualize the modernisation of the eastern flank of the Nigerian Railway, experts have advised the government to do the same thing it did in funding the Lagos-Ibadan-Daura rail line.
It would be recalled that the federal government had approached China’s Exim Bank for billions of dollars to fund the western rail system and the federal government hurriedly paid its counterpart funding for the scheme few months ago.
According to Isah Magaji, a transport expert, “What is worth doing is worth doing well. If the federal government would hurriedly borrow from China and also pay its counterpart funding running into over N75bn in August this year and work is going on along the West-North flank, nothing stops the same government to do the same in the eastern flank than coming out to tell Nigerians that there is no money to reconstruct the rail line. I think it’s unfair.
Also commenting, a cleric who pleaded anonymity said “This country needs healing and it can only come when government starts to treat every region equally without minding where it got big or small votes during elections. Elections have come and gone. This is time to work and galvanise the country into one”.
“If government can borrow from China to fund rail projects on the western flank of the country without crying out loud, there is no reason whatsoever why it cannot borrow again to fund the eastern flank because all are for the development of one nation; Nigeria”.
Finance pundits say this is possible because the Debt Management Office (DMO) had made it clear that Nigeria can still borrow more because it has not reached its borrowing threshold.
The eastern flank starts from Port Harcourt to Maiduguri cutting across Aba, Owerri, Enugu, Umuahia to Markurdi, to Abakiliki, and to Awka, Lafia down to Bauchi, Gombe, Yola and to Damaturu and ends at Borno.
The Minister of Transportation Minister, Rotimi Amaechi had told State House correspondents after a closed door meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa that funding is hampering redevelopment of eastern flank railway lines.
The Minister of Transportation Minister, said, ‘‘You are aware that we have gotten approval for the eastern flank of the Nigerian Railway modernisation which has to do with from Port Harcourt to Maiduguri cutting across Aba, Owerri, Enugu, Umuahia to Markurdi, to Abakiliki, and to Awka, Lafia down to Bauchi, Gombe, Yola and to Damaturu and ends at Borno”.
“And also the other railway from Kano to Maradi in Niger Republic I need to brief the President about how we are progressing with negotiations of loans and others and our possible financiers.
“I also need to brief him about the current activities going on in the Lagos/Ibadan axis and what we intend to do to complete the Lagos/Kano railway. It is basically about my office,” Amaechi said.
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