President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the payment of $318m (about 123bn) as counterpart funding to the Chinese Government for the Ibadan-Kano standard gauge project.
The Minister of Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi who disclosed this said work on the Ibadan-Kano segment of the Lagos-Kano line may commence by the end of August.
The project being funded by the Chinese government would cost $5.3bn.
It would be handled by the China Civil Engineering and Construction Corporation (CCECC).
Amaechi who spoke in a Democracy Day interview monitored on Channels Television on Friday night commended the Chinese Government which he said had been very helpful in funding the railway modernization projects of the Federal Government.
He however added that the Federal Executive Council (FEC) had approved the opening of an account where some of the profits being generated from the standard gauge train services would be secured for repayment to the Chinese government. Amaechi disclosed that the flagship Abuja-Kaduna train which started with 300 daily passengers now records over 4000 passengers.
He said when the service first started, the government was making a monthly loss of N46m but now generates between N109m to N110m monthly profit.
Amaechi added that by the time the Ibadan-Kano train service comes on stream with cargo operations added to the service, more profit would be generated to ease the repayment of the loan.
He said, “We must attribute our successes in the rail operation to the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”