The minister of transportation Rotimi Amaechi, says the federal government is paying as much as N40million in subsidies every month.
Amaechi highlighted the complications the federal government has had to deal with in making rail concessions, stating that the concession with General Electric (GE) fell apart after the company was sold its rail business.
His words: “We are still under pressure to have more locomotives and more coaches beacuse more people are now using the rail. But you know typical Nigerians, they like free things,” he added.
“We spend N56million per locomotive, and we get N16millon. If we increase it, you will start abusing us, ‘we won’t vote for this people’. But you see, it is subsidised, so you big men, government is subsidising you, that is why you should vote for us because you are sharing the money.
“At the end of the day, we lose every month N40million, in fact, it was worse initially because it was N600 per passenger and nearly N1,000 for business class.
“I was grateful because it was the passengers — both poor and rich — who said increase the price, increase the cost, but whatever it is, we have not been able to break even.”
Amaechi said maybe the next minister of transportation will be able to raise the prices for the rail service to break even.