The Federal Government has earmarked the sum of N21.09bn for railway modernisation, rehabilitation and maintenance of ongoing railway projects nationwide.
An analysis of the 2023 Appropriation Act by The PUNCH showed that the railway modernisation project under the line item with code ERGP13195543 was allocated the sum of N10bn.
Also, rehabilitation of the narrow-gauge track from Minna to Barrow with extension to the Baro River Port would gulp N1.186bn and the maintenance of roads into stations, restrooms, workshops, chalets and operational residential quarters would cost N200m.
The sum of N500m was allocated to the maintenance of the track including emergency recovery, recovery bridge and culvert repair; rehabilitation of the station and other railway buildings would be done at the cost of N500m.
Likewise, the building of the station platform and canopy at km31 at Itakpe-Aladja was allocated the sum of N575m.
Other railway projects include procurement/rehabilitation of rolling stock narrow gauge at the cost of N3.734bn; insurance of locomotive and rolling stock at N500m; procurement of diesel (AGO) for the power cars and locomotive at the cost of N710m while rehabilitation of stations and other railway buildings was allocated the sum N500m.
Further breakdown of the budget showed that the sum of N500m was allocated for the procurement of track materials; procurement of rail inspection vehicles to cost N500m; rehabilitation/ repairs of railways under the line item with code 23030114 at the cost of N2.186bn while rehabilitation/repairs of office buildings under line item with code 23030121 were allocated the sum of N1bn.
The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), while presenting the 2023 Appropriation Bill to the National Assembly last year, said that appreciable progress had been made in the rehabilitation and completion of key projects like the 156km Lagos-Ibadan Standard Gauge Rail (and its 8.72km extension to Lagos Port); the 186km Abuja-Kaduna Standard Gauge Rail; and 327km Itakpe-Warri Standard Gauge Rail, adding that significant investment was made to finance these projects.
Buhari noted that the completed projects complemented the administration’s ongoing investments in light rail, narrow- and standard-gauge rail, ancillary facilities yards, wagon assembling plants, e-ticketing infrastructure as well as the training and development of rail engineers and other workers.
The PUNCH reported that the government planned to spend $16bn on modernising rail and port infrastructure across the country.
However, the President of the Nigerian Union of Rail Workers, Innocent Ajiji in an interview with our correspondent last year said even though railway modernisation was a good idea, Nigeria was not closed to modern railways.