By Taiye Elebiyo-Edeni
The federal government has approved the building of a new seaport in Warri at a cost of $3.9 billion.
Contract has also been awarded for the rail connecting Abuja with Warri and Itakpe and Abuja, Minister of Transportation Rotimi Amaechi said.
Amaechi told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja that the rail would also link the new seaport in Warri.
He reported that about $45 billion dollars would be needed to complete rail development in the country.
He said that the country would have been covered with rail once Lagos-Kano, Port Harcourt-Maduguri, Lagos-Calabar and Abuja-Warri rail lines were constructed.
According to him, government has not spent more than $3 billion yet on all the ongoing projects.
“The Lagos-Ibadan rail will cost about $1.6 billion, that doesn’t include the extra cost of things we didn’t prepare for or see in the evaluation; Abuja-Kaduna was constructed with about a billion dollars.
“We also paid $500 million to buy locomotives and rolling stocks for Lagos-Ibadan rail. I can’t remember how much we spent buying rolling stocks for Kaduna-Abuja, that is what we have spent so far.
“So all the noise that you hear people saying we have spent 8 point something billion dollars is not true. I don’t think we have spent up to three billion dollars so far. Railway is capital intensive; a trillion naira is about $2.7 billion.
“And that is for 200km of railway, if you plan to do Lagos-Ibadan and you are looking at 8.7 billion dollars that is between 3 trillion and 4 trillion Naira. That is why I said we will need about 35 to 45 billion dollars.
“To be able to do Lagos-Kano, Port Harcourt-Maduguri, Lagos-Calabar and Abuja-Warri, once we do this four tracks, we have covered the country and we have solved the problems of transportation to a great extent.” (NAN)