The People’s Republic of China has expressed its willingness to provide refinancing and support to finalize the Abuja-Kano and Port-Harcourt-Maiduguri railway projects, in response to a request made by President Bola Tinubu.
According to channelstv.com, China’s President, Xi Jinping disclosed this on Wednesday in Beijing while receiving Vice President Kashim Shettima who represented Tinubu in a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the ongoing Third Belt and Road Forum.
This was disclosed in a statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Communications, Stanley Nkwocha, recalling that since the launch of the projects, China has yet to release funds for the two major railway projects in Nigeria largely due to cutbacks and commitments.
“China had agreed to provide 85 per cent financing for the construction of the Abuja-Kano and Port-Harcourt-Maiduguri railway projects, while Nigeria which had the duty of paying the balance 15% paid its part of the funding from the inception of the project through appropriations.
The crucial infrastructure also termed a legacy project has the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation as the contractor named to execute the project,” he stated.
Shettima who delivered Tinubu’s well-wishes described the rail projects as vital to the President and people of Nigeria, saying it remained a legacy project that would further open up the nation’s economy, create jobs and boost trade and investments across the country.
He said President Tinubu remains committed to a stronger Nigeria – China tie, adding that it was laden with respect, non-political interference and mutual international cooperation.
“Our relationship commenced about 50 years ago, precisely in 1971 and it has been upgraded to a comprehensive partnership, but we crave your indulgence, Your Excellency, to further upgrade this relationship to a comprehensive strategic partnership because of the importance we attach to our relationship with China,” Shettima was quoted as saying.