Nigeria’s Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi says he is not in a position to guarantee whether the three projects that were officially inaugurated on Tuesday by the country’s President Muhammadu Buhari will be completed during the lifespan of the administration.
The President had at a virtual ground-breaking ceremony of three projects namely the rehabilitation and reconstruction of Port Harcourt– Maiduguri Eastern Narrow Gauge railway project, Bonny deep seaport and Railway Industrial Park, Port Harcourt, noted that the rehabilitation of the infrastructures would reactivate economic activities along the Eastern corridor, which have been greatly affected by insecurity.
Mr Amaechi however says the possibility of the projects being completed before the end of the President Buhari administration is dependent on the availability of funds.
“I am not in a position to say that for now, it is a function of money actually,” the Minister said on Thursday when he featured on an ARISE News programme, The Morning Show.
He went further to say that “once we conclude, once we have the financial close for all of them, we’ll put pressure on them. For instance, all the contracts are to be completed in three years but what we intend to do is to put as much pressure as we can on the contractors to ensure that we start simultaneously at different points so that we can complete at the same time.
“If we do that at the same time, we may complete it in two years, but if we can’t, for Christ’s sake government is a continuum, we don’t have to be there to commission the projects. What is critical and important to the president is not about the history of who started it.”
At the ceremony, President Buhari had noted that the country’s aspiration for nationwide transport infrastructure and railways would be significantly enhanced by these three projects conceived to be integrated into their operations.
“The connection of the railway to a new seaport in Bonny Island and Railway Industrial Park, Port Harcourt is designed to increase the viability and boost trans-shipment of cargo and freight locally, across the West African sub-region and in the Continental Free Trade Area.
“The sum of the socio-economic and environmental benefits of these projects includes creation of massive employment locally. In addition, there will be further utilization of local contents and technology transfer, increase in internally generated revenue and would serve as a fulcrum for the achievement of the Federal Government planned Integrated Development Masterplan,” the President had said.
By Abel Ejikeme