After hours of deliberation, the Federal Executive Council, FEC, meeting held today in Abuja and presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, resolved that the sum of $2,810,574,064.92 be released to the Ministry of Transportation to facilitate the procurement of rolling stocks.
Beyond the rolling stocks, the funding would also go into other operational and maintenance equipment, especially for the Ibadan to Kano and Port Harcourt to Maiduguri rail lines.
The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, while giving further insight into the approval, noted that the contract became necessary to enable hitch-free operations of the nation’s revamped rail system.
“I got an approval of the cabinet to procure rolling stocks, operational and maintenance equipment for the new railway projects corridors in Ibadan to Kano standard gauge and Port Harcourt to Maiduguri narrow gauge rail lines to the tune of $2,810,574,064.92, including 7.5 per cent tax.
“Rolling stocks are consumables for the maintenance and operation of the railway. So, currently, anytime you hear of break down, which was discussed in the cabinet, it’s because maybe we have run out of rolling stock and we’ve also run out of stock for the railway”.
“So, with this, we will replace all the rolling stock. They are essentially the consumables we use to maintain the trains, coaches and locomotives,” he said.
It will be recalled that owing to some controversies between the Chinese and Nigerian government, loan facilities for developing the rail sector have been kind of slow in recent times, prompting the Transport Minister to channel attention to European Banks for funding, even as the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari gradually winds down.