Lagos-Calabar Rail Project Contained In Submitted Budget To NASS, Says FG
The Federal Government on Tuesday insisted that the Calabar-Abuja rail project was part of the 2016 budget submitted by the executive to the National Assembly.
The Minister of Budget and National Planning, Mr Udo Udoma made the clarification in a statement issued by his Media Adviser, Mr James Akpandem.
The minister in the statement admitted that while the Budget Office made some errors while preparing the 2016 budget, these errors were corrected by the ministry of budget and national planning before they were submitted to the relevant committees of the National Assembly.
It said one of the budget that was corrected was that of the Ministry of Transportation, adding that this was what was accepted by the committee and also defended by the Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi.
It said, “The details of the 2016 budget were received by the President on Thursday, April 7, 2016.
“Immediately this was received the President, desirous of signing the document into law as soon as possible, directed that copies should be made available to Heads of the various Ministries, Departments and Agencies of the Federal Government.
“With reference to the specific issue of the Calabar – Lagos rail project, we will like to state that the two railway projects, Lagos – Kano and the Calabar – Lagos, are very important projects of the present administration; and it was always the intention of the Executive to have both projects reflected in the budget submitted to the National Assembly.
“However, it will be recalled that the Budget Office made a number of errors in the initial proposals of a number of ministries. These errors were all corrected by the Ministry of Budget and National Planning and the corrected versions were submitted to the relevant committees of the National Assembly.
“This included that of the Ministry of Transportation. The amended Ministry of Transportation budget was accepted by the relevant committees and that was the version defended by the Minister of Transportation and his team.”
The statement stated that the two rail projects are part of those for which the President is currently negotiating funding with the Chinese government.
According to the statement, the N60b provided in the budget for the Lagos – Kano and Calabar – Lagos rail lines, respectively, is counterpart funding, to support the Chinese financing for the projects.
It said, “These projects are part of the Strategic Implementation Plan of the government which was disclosed by the Minister of Budget and National Planning at the National Economic Council Retreat in March 2016, in the presence of state governors.”