The incompetent President Muhammadu Buhari’s regime has again borrowed money, about $2.6 billion, to construct the Lagos-Ibadan railway.
Late Monday, the Transportation Minister Rotimi Amaechi, disclosed this in an interview with Channels TV, providing further insight into the Nigeria’s level of indebtedness.
“If you look at the whole total cost, it will be $2.5 to $2.6 billion that we have borrowed from China Exim bank,” said Mr Amaechi.
Recall, in February, Nigeria announced plans to increase long-term loans to finance its budget deficits in the future as the Debt Management Office released the federal government’s Medium-Term Debt Management Strategy.
It sought to increase total public debt as a percentage of gross domestic products from 25 per cent to a maximum of 40 per cent.
“The 40 per cent ratio is still well below the World Bank, and International Monetary Fund recommended threshold of 55 per cent for countries in Nigeria’s peer group,” the DMO had said, indicating that the debt strategy is to account for 2020 to the end of 2023.
In a rash of explanation, Mr Amaechi added, “But at the end of the day, the project is costing about $2 billion. The government is coughing out more than just $200 million.
“We are bringing out about $700 million because we have to end the seaport in Apapa, which was not part of the original design. So we had to take about 45 kilometres rail from Ebute-Metta into Apapa seaport. Everything together is about $2 billion.”
Speaking further, the minister stated, “There is an additional one they are going to bring to connect Tin Can Island Seaport to Apapa that will be some extra cost which we have to borrow from them.
“They also lent us about $1.4 billion for the Lagos-Ibadan while the federal government had to cough out about $200 million to make it $1.6 billion.”
Since Mr Buhari assumed office in 2015, Mr Amaechi acknowledged that the rail line “took us about $1 billion.”
He further noted, “When we came, part of the project was abandoned for the inability of the government to produce the counterpart funding. So what the government did was release the counterpart funding and money for the extra work we needed to do.
“We had to buy the locomotives and coaches to enable us to commence commercial activities. For the Kaduna-Abuja, they lent $500 million.”