The Federal Government spent $62.66m to service railway-related debts in the first quarter of 2023, according to Nigeria’s external debt service payments report by the Debt Management Office.

Between January and March 2023, The Nigeria Railway Modernisation Project (Idu-Kaduna Section) took $23.1m

The Nigeria Railway Modernisation Project (Lagos-Ibadan Section) gulped $15.49m.

The PUNCH also learnt that the Nigeria Abuja Light Rail Project gulping $24.07m.

The total amount spent in Q1 2023 is a slight increase from the $61.73m spent in Q1 2022.

The rising railway debt servicing costs occurred as the government struggled to generate revenue from the railway sector.

The National Bureau of Statistics disclosed that rail transportation passengers declined by 53.65 per cent from 953,099 in the first quarter of 2022 to 441,725 in the first quarter of 2023.

The statistics body noted that a total of 59,966 tonnes of goods were transported in the first quarter of 2023, compared to 39,379 tonnes reported in the same quarter of 2022.

In terms of revenue generation, N768.44m was received from passengers over the period, a decrease of 63.02 per cent relative to N2.08bn in the same quarter of the previous year.

A professor of Economics at Olabisi Onabanjo University, Sheriffdeen Tella, recently said a number of factors, such as insecurity, among others, affect the patronage of train services in the country.

He said, “It’s being affected by insecurities, the cost of transportation, i.e., fare compared with other modes, and maintenance of the facilities, i.e., maintaining a standard of operation.”

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