Rotimi Amaechi, minister of transportation, says one of the benefits of Chinese investments in Nigeria, is the University of Transportation currently being built by the Chinese in Daura, Katsina state.
Speaking at one of the breakout sessions of the just concluded Nigerian Economic Summit (NES24), the minister said the Chinese are building a factory in the University structure.
“Somebody asked, what are the benefits of the Chinese investments, I say quite a lot; there is a University of Transportation in Daura, that they are constructing,” Amaechi said.
“We insisted with them that they must build factory that would produce locomotives, coaches, wagons with their own money.
“I said if you want me to sign these contracts, you must tell me what is my personal benefit, and my personal benefits is that you must manufacture 50 percent here — I will allow you 50 percent outside, but the rest must be produced here in Nigeria.”
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The minister said many Nigerians keep clamouring for the private sector to build infrastructure in the country but expressed lack of faith in the capacity of the entrepreneurs to fix the deficit.
“All this noise you people are making about funding, I say, $2.5 billion is almost N1 trillion. Lagos-Kano (rail) is $8.7 billion, that is how many trillion naira?” Amaechi asked
“How many banks can fund it? We are ready to take tomorrow. $8.7 billion is nearly N3 trillion. Lagos-Calabar is $11 billion.
“So when people talk about borrowing… (a newspaper) took me to the cleaners, ‘oh, why am I allowing the government to do this? Bring private investors’, I say if they know how much it takes to construct 10 kilometres of railway, (the newspaper) will close down.
“That is why government is borrowing for those critical infrastructures, if I say it, they would say ‘didn’t you know before you came to power?”
“There is one thing he (Babatunde Fashola) said that I never say in public; where are the entrepreneurs in Nigeria? You say you’re an entrepreneur, if we remove government, will you survive? How many? If anybody is willing to invest, we are ready,” Amaechi added.
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