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Debt servicing for Nigerian railway projects gulps $548.6 Million in 6 years amid dwindling revenue

According to Nigeria’s external debt service payments reports by the Debt Management Office, DMO, the Federal Government between 2016 and 2022, spent $548.67 million (About N246.11 billion) to service debts related to projects in the railway industry.

Debt Management Office (DMO)

This comes amid the dwindling fortunes in the industry which has been blamed on insecurity as data from the Rail Transportation reports reveal that between 2017 and 2022, the FG earned just N18.09 billion.

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The debt servicing for two major railway projects gulped $19.99 million in 2016. The projects were the Nigeria Railway Modernisation Project which took $11.37 million and the Nigeria Abuja Light Rail Project gulping $8.26 million.

Railway debt servicing gulped $21.53 million in 2017 and just like the previous year, the same railway projects - the Nigeria Railway Modernisation Project and the Nigeria Abuja Light Rail Project gulped $12.14 million and $9.39 million respectively.

Between January and December 2018, the debt servicing on railway projects witnessed an increment as it gulped a total of $63.92 million within the period with some new additional projects.

They include the Nigeria Railway Modernisation Project (Idu-Kaduna Section) which took $50.81 million, the Nigeria Railway Modernisation Project (Lagos-Ibadan Section) gulped $2.82 million and the Nigeria Abuja Light Rail Project gulped $10.92 million.

Railway-related debt service gulped $74.25 million in 2019 with the Nigeria Railway Modernisation Project (Idu-Kaduna Section) taking $49.91 million, the Nigeria Railway Modernisation Project (Lagos-Ibadan Section) gulped $12.68 million and the Nigeria Abuja Light Rail Project took $11.66 million.

In 2020, railway-related debt servicing further jumped to $121 million with the continuation of the Nigeria Railway Modernisation Project (Idu-Kaduna Section) taking $48.97 million, the Nigeria Railway Modernisation Project (Lagos-Ibadan Section) gulped $21.28 million and the Nigeria Abuja Light Rail Project gulped $50.75 million.

The total amount spent on railway-related debt servicing had in 2021, risen to $122.92 million as the FG continued work on the Nigeria Railway Modernisation Project (Idu-Kaduna Section) which gulped $47.96 million, the Nigeria Railway Modernisation Project (Lagos-Ibadan Section) took $24.08 million and the Nigeria Abuja Light Rail Project gulped $50.88 million.

In 2022, the FG spent $125.06 million on servicing railway debts and according to the Managing Director of the Nigerian Railway Corporation, Fidet Okhiria, the FG lost about N113 million as trains remained non-operational at the Abuja-Kaduna railway for over eight months.

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