Rotimi Amaechi, minister of transportation, says lack of adequate funding may slow down the pace of work and completion of the Kano-Kaduna railway project.
The minister made this known while inspecting work on the project in Kano on Friday.
According to NAN, he told journalists that the country is grappling with some financial challenges due to the economic downturn.
“I have never denied that we are having financial challenges, and that is because of economic downturn,” Amaechi said.
“The Chinese are not funding the way they used to fund us, and up till now, we are yet to conclude the loan for this project. So we are funding this project from the budget.
“That is why I doubt the completion and said if funding is available. However, we are putting pressure on all the necessary institutions that need to give us money.
“But currently, we fund it through the budget, we will approach the Ministry of Finance again to fund us within this period.”
Based on the pace of work by the contractors, and with adequate funds, Amaechi expressed optimism that they would deliver the project for commercial activities before May 2023.
He commended the CCECC and the team on the quality of work delivered so far and urged them not to relent so they could deliver a good job to the country.
Amaechi restated the importance of utilising local materials and manpower in the construction of the rail project.
According to him, the government is encouraging not only the use of local materials but passing all those kinds of jobs to Nigerians.
“So that we are part of the process, we are part of the benefits of this, not just economic benefit but also part of the financial benefit,” he added.
On equipment, he said it was agreed that the Chinese should bring in 2,000 pieces of equipment for the construction of the project.
He said this was to ensure the availability of equipment for the project at all times to prevent the reoccurrence of what was experienced during the construction of the Lagos-Ibadan rail project.
“They brought about 472 equipment, 200 of them are in the seaport, but what we agreed is that they must bring in 2,000 equipment,” he said.
“This is because what we suffered in Lagos- Ibadan, was the fact that equipment were breaking down, was not enough and they couldn’t place an order for new ones.
“So for this one, buy all the equipment that you need so that as they break down you replace so that we will be able to complete the project in due time.”
On the benefits, Amaechi reiterated that the essence of the project was for easy movement of passengers and cargoes.
He said Kano was the most important economic mass centre, and the project would ensure activities that took place in Kano be conveyed easily to Lagos.