The federal government has met with the German Advisory Unit so as to hasten the funding needed for the financing of the N498 billion Kano-Maradi railway. The office of the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi said this after meeting with the advisory unit at the Nigerian Embassy in Berlin.According to a statement by Amaechi’s office, the meeting was held with KfW-IPEX bank of Germany, which serve as an advisory in partnership with the African Finance Corporation (AFC) for the railway from Kano to Maradi in the Niger Republic.
Amaechi said the Export Credit Agencies (ECAs) could come to Nigeria and become part of the process to ensure everything followed their recommenced practices and avert hiccups in the course of the project. He said about the resettlement of villagers, Nigeria had laws in place for that, adding that for the Ministry of Transportation, in choosing the right of way, they avoided communities as they will clear the entire Kano if that is not done. According to Minister, like in Lagos, they avoided communities and used the old line, because if they had to choose a different route they would pay billions. We paid N7 billion in compensations in order to work on the old line. He said this was not that the people had the right to the land, but because if after 12 years and nothing is done it becomes their land and they can’t be chased out.
Amaechi said the federal government still paid compensation because the rail line was moribund. To eject them the government still had to treat them as though they were the original owners of the land. In Kano-Maradi, the government also took into consideration the people, it chose the right of way distant from the communities, which. according to the minister, makes it even more expensive because the government will have to do access roads from the rail line into the communities. Also, the reason the government did that was due to environmental issues, but the Europeans wanted Nigeria to assume that there are people living along the route. He said: “I don’t know what the law is in Europe in terms of your ESIA. We’ve taken the first step by giving notice, we have assessed the land. What we have not done is payment, because the payment is tied to the contract.” The minister said that the FG is ready and committed to the next step of paying compensation, as the project is going to create employment for Nigerian citizens. The Managing Director/Global Head, Aviation Mobility and Transport, KfW-IPEX Bank, Dr Carsten Wiebers, recommended hastening up the process of putting in place the consulting companies and other terms of references are met to facilitate the financing. ”Of course, the first level of requirement is your national regulation and law. You take care of that. “What we are trying to do is create a bridge between your interests and the demands of the Export Credit Agencies, to guarantee we get an affordable loan for you.
”There has to be evidence of the working group in the areas where the rail would be (actual site) all the way to Kano to convince the decision-makers of the ECAs. ”The problem I think, is documentation and communication. The process needs to be properly documented and certified.”