The Federal Government needs about $16bn to actualise some programmes already approved for the Ministry of Transportation including construction of two deep seaports in Bonny, Rivers State, and Warri, Delta State and the dredging of Calabar seaport.
The Minister of Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, disclosed this in an interview with State House correspondents after his meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Thursday.
He stated that since the needed money was not coming easily, the government might consider adopting Public-Private Partnerships for some of the projects that had been approved.
The minister said, “There are approvals for our sector but we have to look for the money, because the money is not just there. We need about $16bn and we can’t just pluck that form the sky. We will try and see if we can get Public-Private Partnerships, especially as it pertains to the seaports.
“There are two deep seaports that were approved: the Bonny and Warri deep seaports. As for the Port Harcourt railway industrial park, we should also be able to get that done through PPP, even though I doubt if we will be able to get railway as PPP because it is quite expensive.”
Amaechi added that there were plans to dredge the Calabar seaport through a PPP arrangement.
He gave an assurance that the problem of traffic gridlock on the road leading to the Apapa Port in Lagos would be over by December this year.
“In terms of the narrow gauge, if not for a hitch, we would have commenced trucking cargo form the Apapa seaport to Ebute-Meta-Lagos and take away the challenges we are having with that Apapa gridlock and bad road. That will happen before December,” he said.
He also stated that between now and December, the government would bring in more coaches and locomotives to boost rail transportation across the country.
He said Buhari was pleased with developments in the sector during their meeting.
The minister explained, “The President sleeps and wakes up thinking about our railways; therefore, I must always see him and tell him how far we have gone. Once he hears the progress that is being made, he feels happy. He is also very pleased with what we have done in terms of the narrow gauge.
“Between now and December, we are bringing in more locomotives, coaches and wagons to ensure efficiency in the narrow gauge.”