Abuja – President Muhammadu Buhari has called for an explanation from the Ministry of Finance regarding foreign loans obtained for local rail projects but were reportedly diverted.
Garba Shehu, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, said the President made the call at the end of a presentation by Ministry of Transport Permanent Secretary, Alhaji Mohammed Bashar.
The presentation was done at the Presidential Villa late Monday.
Buhari expressed disappointment that foreign loans obtained in line with signed agreements were moved from one project to another.
“I hope that due process was followed before such diversions were carried out. Taking money from one project to another has to be done properly,”the President warned.
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He was reacting to the specific instance of the diversion of a substantial part of the loan of more than US$1 billion from the Chinese Exim Bank, obtained for the construction of a standard gauge rail line linking Lagos to Kano.
Bashar had informed the President that only $400 million of that loan remained with the Ministry of Finance.
The President regretted that government had over the years failed to meet its counter-part funding obligation on some projects, leading to such projects being left uncompleted or abandoned.
He added that there was a clear need to streamline, harmonize and prioritize on-going projects in the transportation sector.
Meanwhile, the Transport Permanent Secretary also briefed the President on other challenges facing the transport and maritime sectors.
These include encroachment on railway land, lack of security on inland waterways and the confused nature of agreements between the Nigeria Ports Authority and ports concessionaires.
- CAJ News