Business Hilights
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Amaechi writes off chances of Lagos-Calabar rail scheme

The Minister of Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi has apparently revealed that chances of proposed Lagos to Calabar railway is gone under this administration considering his revelation during weekend’s facility tour of Lagos-Ibadan rail project.
Addressing the media in Ibadan in company of officials of Ghanaian Transport Ministry who were on fact finding mission, Amaechi announced that to connect all Nigerian major cities by rail, the federal government will need to make about $40bn investments, representing about N12.24trn at the exchange rate of N306/$1).
Recall that Lagos-Calabar rail scheme valued at about N700bn was included in the 2018 national budget but nothing was heard about the project till date.
The Lagos-Ibadan rail scheme was targeted at easing the road traffic along Lagos-Benin-Onitsha-Owerri-Port Harcourt- Calabar so as to serve as a tangential cross over from the far West to far East through the Southern fringe of the country to drive economic integration of the entire southern Nigeria.
Analysts say with the high level paucity of fund currently hobbling the Federal Government and planned borrowing of about N1.6tn to fund the 2019 budget; the curtain is as good as closed for the Lagos-Calabar rail scheme under this administration after all.
As a way of escaping from the heat of blames, the Minister in Ibadan noted that based on the huge resources required, Nigerians should be patient with the federal government as it delivers the infrastructure in line with resource availability.
He said the amount needed is about 150 percent of the 2019 budget estimate which cannot be readily available considering the economic circumstances now in the country.
Explaining more during his routine inspection of the 156km Lagos to Ibadan double gauge rail project under construction, Amaechi said the government is open to private investors willing to invest in Nigeria’s railways.
Business Hilights recalls that the inspection began from Lagos and ended in Ibadan at the site of the Nigeria’s Shippers Council supported dry port Ibadan. On the entourage was a delegation from the Ghanaian transport ministry led by the minister, the senate committee on land transport and the Executive Secretary, Nigerian Shippers Council, Mr. Hassan Bello. The Ghanaian delegation had come to access the quality of work done as they also intend to build same facility. “I tell Nigerians, everybody has to be patient because we need between $36 to $40bn to be able to do that connectivity,” he said.