The Federal Government has disclosed that funding is not a challenge or impediment to the completion of the $1.6 billion Lagos-Ibadan rail project, but rather a lack of workers.
The disclosure was made by the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, during an inspection of the Lagos-Ibadan rail project, in a press statement by Eric Ojiekwe, Director Press and Public Relations of the ministry.
The Transport Minister had urged the project contractors, China Civil Engineering Construction Company (CCECC), to complete the project within a period of 5 months.
Amaechi, who was on the inspection of the rail project with the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said that the coronavirus pandemic which has delayed the completion of the project has come to stay and so he asked the contractors, CCECC, to come up with measures of completing the rail project.
He was quoted as advising the project contractors, China Civil Engineering Construction, to adhere to safety measures such as compulsory use of masks and safety shields by all workers in order to get the required number needed to work in all stations.
He urged them to procure personal protective equipment for their workers as an excuse for failure would not be accepted.
On the Ibadan-Kano $5.6 billion rail which is yet to commence, Amaechi stated that government is yet to secure the loan from China Export-Import Bank, but assured it is still a top priority for this administration.
While giving his impression on the project, Lai Mohammed said, ‘’I am very impressed. The reason we brought you here is to see that it is not a concocted story. This is the reason why we are borrowing the money so that Nigerians can travel in dignity and comfort.’’
He said that the monies that had been borrowed for the project are not for grandiose display nor for overhead or running costs, but rather for capital projects which on completion would create jobs and provide the needed infrastructure for Nigerians.
He added that there was nothing wrong in borrowing as long as it is used to provide improved service delivery for the people.
Lai Mohammed was full of praises for Amaechi for the passion he has exhibited in driving the project and urged the contractors, CCECC, not to disappoint.
Other dignitaries that were part of the inspection tour included: the Managing Director, Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA), Hadiza Bala-Usman, the Board Chairman, NRC, Engr. Ibrahim Alhassan Musa, the Executive Secretary, Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Hassan Bello, among others.