By Lucy Ogalue
President Muhammadu Buhari will do the groundbreaking of the Kaduna-Kano standard gauge by Thursday.
Dr Magdalene Ajani, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Transportation, disclosed this in a statement on Tuesday in Abuja.
The statement said the event would be at Zawaciki, Dawaki Local Government Area, Kano at 10.a.m.
The statement added that the project will further boost the president‘s program of linking the country through rail in order to enhance the economic growth of the Nation.
The statement said major stakeholders in the transport sector have been invited for the occasion.
However, the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi had said about $380m had been paid to the contractor.
Amaechi, on the 2nd of July, had said: “In the next two weeks or one-week plus, we should be launching and commencing immediately, the construction of Kano-Kaduna rail.
“The President will be launching it. The reason we are commencing immediately is because all the necessary contracts have been awarded.
“We have been waiting for too long for the loan now from China, it has not come. So, we decided to fund it from the Budget.
“We have already paid $280m to them. We are about to pay another $100m. That will be about $380m. Kano-Kaduna rail is $1.2bn.
“The moment you pay about $380m, you must have paid one-third of the project.
“We believe that by the time we get the loan, from the budget, we should have funded up between $500m and $600m so that we should be able to take the project nearly halfway before the fund will come.
“If we continue to wait for the loan, either from China or Europe, we may likely not complete it before we go.
“So, I made a decision as Minister in charge. I reported to the President that I would commence construction with our own fund and pending when the loan will fall through.”