Aside from the $1.4 billion loans secured for the Lagos-Ibadan rail project, the federal government is yet to obtain loans for other rail projects in the country, the minister of transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, has said.
Amaechi stated this when he defended the ministry’s 2022 budget before the joint committee of the Senate and the House of Representatives on Land and Marine Transport.
“Even though the FEC has approved these loans, we have not secured any, except the N1.4 billion for Lagos – Ibadan rail. But when people see these figures out there, they will say Amaechi has borrowed another money,” he said.
The minister, however, emphasised that the government had prioritised the completion of ongoing railway projects and has equally commenced new ones that would serve as transportation backbone for economic development.
Meanwhile, the lawmakers queried several projects without specific contract rates in the proposed 2022 budget of the ministry.
The chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Land Transport, Hon Tajudeen Abass, said some subheads in the 2021 budget were lumped up without detailed analysis, and the funds were eventually mopped-up.
“This year I saw something reoccurring in the same magnitude, in the same socket I can see railway projects; installation of security surveillance system for Abuja-Idi-Kaduna railway line; the completion of Ajaokuta-Itakpe-Warri railway track; rehabilitation of Itakpe-Ajaoluta railway drop-off; supply of spare parts and maintenance of equipment; signal and telecoms system installation Ajaokuta-Itakpe-Warri; land acquisition for the federal ministry of transport extension; feasibility studies and other related projects, why are there several projects under the same item, why are they not captured under different subheads and the individual costs of the projects,” Abbas queried.