The Minister of Transportation, Mu’azu Sambo, on Monday disclosed that the Federal Government will borrow to facilitate the completion of rail projects in the country.
According to The PUNCH, he stated this while delivering the ministry’s scorecard in Abuja.
“We don’t have the money. We are going to borrow anyway. So, we thought whatever the standard gauge will give us, the narrow gauge will also give us,” he said.
In response to a question about why the South-East was limited to narrow gauge train lines, the minister stated that the zone had yet to be marginalized on the rail projects being implemented by the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.).
“There is no deliberate attempt whatsoever to marginalise the South-East and if anything, that is the one part of the country that has benefited the most from PMB infrastructure projects.
“The narrow gauge you probably are referring to is the one that runs from Maiduguri, all the way through Jos, up to Port Harcourt.
“If that is the one you are talking about, first of all, I will let you know that Maiduguri, Jos, and several other cities the rail lines traversed are not in the South-East.”
He also mentioned the narrow gauge contract “that my predecessor in office was considering,” which had two options: “rehabilitate the narrow gauge at a cost of around $3 billion or do a standard gauge at a cost of about $12 billion.”
Speaking further, he stated that the narrow gauge would transport more cargos, with the only difference between the narrow gauge and the regular gauge being the speed.
To support his claim that the South-East region benefited the most, the minister stated that “the Buhari-led administration erected the second Niger Bridge, which had resisted all previous governments.”