FG explains the very many economic benefits of Kano-Katsina-Maradi rail line
Nigeria’s Minister of Transportation, Rt Hon Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, has listed the benefits of the Kano-Maradi rail line and the economic importance of the Lekki, Bonny, and Warri seaports approved by President Muhammadu Buhari.
He also highlighted the role the Port Harcourt-Maiduguri rail line would play in boosting the country’s economy.
Amaechi spoke during a marathon of interviews on some TV stations commemorating Nigeria’s 60th Independence Anniversary.
He said the Kano-Maradi rail line will afford the country the opportunity to compete in the area of transporting cargoes, goods, and services to and from landlocked neighbouring countries like Niger via the seaports in Lagos, adding that it’s all about economics, not politics.
“Last week, we awarded the contract for Kano to Maradi and people were screaming why are we taking it to Niger Republic. It’s important to take it to Niger because of economic reasons. Most coastal territories in Africa are competing better than us in terms of cargoes coming from not the hinterland, the landlocked countries.
“We decided to join the market and compete so that we can make our seaports very viable. We decided to introduce the Kano-Maradi rail so that we can convey their goods from Maradi (a boundary village) to our ports with ease. I don’t know why people are screaming about it. It’s about economics, not politics.
“We believe that before the end of the year, two railway projects should commence. Kano-Maradi and Ibadan to Kano. For Ibadan to Kano, we are waiting for approval of the loan in China. Once the loan is approved in China, we’ll commence.
“For Kano-Maradi, the loan is almost ready. They are coming next week for a negotiation. Once we conclude the negotiation and agree, we’ll sign and pursue the construction. The contractor is a Portuguese company (Mota-Engil). They have come with a European bank and a German bank to fund the Kano-Maradi rail.
On the part the Niger Republic is expected to play in the construction of the rail line, Amaechi said, “We are the ones building the rail to their village at the border to attract their cargoes. They are comfortable going to Togo, Benin Republic, and Ghana or all those countries around there.
“So what we want to do is to attract them to a cheap and secure form of transportation, so you can’t, therefore, ask them to make a contribution. We are going to do the $1.98bn at our own cost and at Maradi we stop so that we can attract their cargoes and then get our seaports to be more competitive as compared to Lome, Benin, and Ghana.
On the timing of the Kano-Maradi project, Amaechi explained that the railway generates employment and can be a means of curbing insecurity in that region as the criminality and banditry may have been as a result of poverty for some people who go into it.
“You should know that railway generates employment and that as you move from Kano to Maradi you’re going to to go to Kano, Dutse, Kazaure, Daura, Katsina, Jibia before you get to Maradi, imagine the number of persons that you’ll create jobs for just at the beginning of the construction.
“At the end of construction, imagine the number of businesses that you can site along with that area just because there is transportation. So when you talk about timing, poverty doesn’t have timing, unemployment is causing insecurity and banditry is a product of poverty, not just lack of education. So you have to find an alternative to those who participate in banditry.
“So what we are trying to create is a source of growing the economy of Nigeria and creating opportunities for those who want to do real business, so they’ll be able to move their manufactured goods and reduce the cost of production around that area. That’s what we are trying to do. So timing won’t be an issue.