The Export-Import (Exim) Bank of China has approved $1.275bn (about N408bn) loan for the construction of the Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge rail line on behalf of the Chinese government.
The approval is coming few weeks after the Federal Government of Nigeria had announced the release of N72bn as its counterpart fund for the project.
While Nigeria is to bear 15 per cent of the cost of the project, China will shoulder 85 per cent for the first phase fast rail that will eventually terminate in Kano.
Speaking on Sunday, the Managing Director, Nigerian Railway Corporation, Mr. Fidet Okheria, said that with the approval of the funds by the Chinese Exim bank, all was set for the commencement of the construction of the modern rail line from Lagos to Ibadan.
“The Exim bank of China has now approved the loan and the next stage is for the Minister of Finance to sign it to signal the beginning of the project,” he said.
Okheria also revealed that the final signing by the Chinese government for the project to commence would only come after two weeks when the country’s New Year holiday would have been over.
Last Monday, the Minister of Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, had said that the Federal Government decided to release the N72bn as its counterpart funds in full to ensure that there would be no delay in the implementation of the project.
“On the construction of Lagos-Ibadan railway line, the Minister of Finance has been kind enough to release the counterpart funding in full. I think in the history of Nigeria, this is the first time that we are releasing counterpart funds in full so that there will be no delay,” he had said.