Feb 6, 2017: Nigeria has managed to secure $1.5 billion (about N450 billion) counterpart funding from China for the Lagos-Ibadan rail project set to commence in March, according to a report from news agency Reuters.

The Minister for Transportation, RotimiAmaechi, made this known when he appeared before the house of senate committee on land transport to defend the 2017 budget.

Amaechi also urged the senate to approve a $6.1 billion loan from China Exim Bank for the construction of Calabar-Port Harcourt, Lagos-Ibadan, Lagos-Kano rail and Lagos to Kaduna railway.

He explained that the target was to commence from the Apapa, Lagos seaport down to Ogun and then to Ibadan.

The credit facility forms part of the $30 billion loan, for which the presidency was seeking the National Assembly approval to fund critical infrastructure.

Amaechi, explained that $3.4 billion was for the construction of a Calabar-port Harcourt railway, while Lagos-Ibadan would cost $1.5 billion.

Lagos-Ibadan rail line is a segment of the Lagos-Kano railway project, one of the most important and ambitious infrastructural targets of the Muhammadu Buhari-led administration.

In January, the government announced wholesale release of N72 billion as Nigeria's counterpart funding for the Lagos-Ibadan railway.

Pointing out that the government had provided its counterpart 15 percent fund, Amaechi reiterated that it will be good if the National Assembly can kindly approve the loan of $30 billion because the $6.1 billion is part of it adding that is why they need the National Assembly to approve.

He assured that the government would pursue the railway modernisation project with greater vigour in 2017 to achieve practical completion of the Abuja-Kaduna, Lagos-Kaduna, Lagos-Ibadan, Lagos-Kano, Kano-Kaduna.

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