How $600 Million Railway Projects Fund Disappears in Finance Ministry

President  Muhammed Buhari has called for an explanation from the Ministry of Finance on the foreign loans obtained for rail projects but diverted to other purposes.

He gave the directive at the end of a presentation on the Ministry of Transport by the Permanent Secretary, Alhaji Mohammed Bashar, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Monday.

This followed his discovery that a substantial part of the loan of $1.005 billion from the Chinese Exim Bank, obtained for the construction of a standard gauge rail line linking  Lagos to Kano, had been diverted.

The Permanent Secretary had informed the president that $400 million of that loan remained with the Ministry of Finance.

Buhari observed that it was disappointing to find that foreign loans obtained in line with signed agreements were moved from one project to another.

“I hope that due process was followed before such diversions were carried out. Taking money from one project to another has to be done properly,” the president said.

The president regretted that government had, over the years, failed to meet its counterpart funding obligation on some projects, leading to such projects being left uncompleted or abandoned.

He added that there was a clear need to streamline, harmonise and prioritise ongoing projects in the transportation sector.

The Permanent Secretary of the ministry also briefed the president on other challenges facing the transport and maritime sectors such as  encroachment on railway land, lack of security on inland waterways and the confused nature of agreements between the Nigeria Ports Authority and ports concessionaires.

Speaking to State House correspondents after the meeting with the president, the Permanent Secretary expressed confidence that the new Abuja-Kaduna standard railway line would still be ready by its December 2015 deadline following the completion of laying of the tracks.

He revealed that what was being awaited were the locomotives that have been ordered and paid for.

Bashar also remarked that other railway rehabilitation projects in the country were progressing steadily with Kano-Port Harcourt line being the latest to come on stream. is your one-stop online news magazine blog. We report credible information as they happen. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to get Latest Information.

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