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Presidency secures N1.055tr for 2nd Niger bridge, others

Presidency secures N1.055tr for 2nd Niger bridge, others

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So far, N71 billion has been disbursed on the Second Niger Bridge, the Lagos-Ibadan expressway and Abuja-Kano expressway.

Uche Usim

The Presidency has secured a N1.055 trillion multi-source special funding mechanism for the construction of the Second River Niger bridge in Onitsha, Anambra State and four other key projects captured under the Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund (PIDF).

READ ALSO: Phase 4 of 2nd Niger Bridge’ll be completed in July – FG

So far, N71 billion has been disbursed on the Second Niger Bridge, the Lagos-Ibadan expressway and Abuja-Kano expressway.

Managing Director of the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) Uche Orji, who made the disclosure in Onitsha Thursday while inspecting civil works done so far on the bridge, said the project is expected to be ready by February 28, 2022.

He revealed that the first phase of the three-phase Second Niger Bridge Project would cost N220 billion.

He added that the PIDF programme was an initiative of President Muhammadu Buhari
designed to facilitate the rapid completion of key infrastructure projects that have been stalled for years.

According to him, the bridge and roads will be tolled on completion to recoup the money spent in building them.

He said other projects being undertaken under PIDF are the Mambilla Hydro-Power project and East West road.

According to him, the funding sources for the PIDF include: ₦585 billion from the Nigerian Federation (Federal, State and Local Governments), ₦97 billion from NSIA, ₦1.5 billion from export credit agencies, and ₦372 billion from private investors.

Orji noted that NSIA was working closely with the Federal Ministry of Finance and the Federal Ministry of Power, Housing and Works to ensure proper financing and completion of the projects.

“The PIDF is an initiative of the Presidency conceived to accelerate the execution of critical, strategic infrastructure projects essential to the rapid growth and modernization of Nigeria’s economy,” he said.

“Already, three projects are in construction: Second Niger Bridge: A greenfield construction of an 11.9km, 2×3 lane Greenfield highway connecting Asaba (Delta State) and Onitsha (Anambra State). The project is vital for the development of the region. The Lagos – Ibadan Expressway involves the rehabilitation, reconstruction and expansion of that corridor.

“The 127 km highway links the city of Lagos with Ibadan and proceeding onwards to connect the northern region of the country. It is among Africa’s most important roadways.”

On the Abuja-Kano expressway, he said the project entails the modernization of 370 kilometers of
road.

“It is a critical part of the A2, which is a main artery within Nigeria’s transportation grid, enabling the movement of people and products from the north to the south and vice versa.

On the Mambilla Hydro-Power Project, Orji said it entails a 3050 MW Hydroelectric Power facility located in Sardauna Local Government of Taraba State.

“On East-West road, the Project entails the construction of a 30km dual-carriage way spanning from Oron in Akwa Ibom State through to Calabar in Cross River state. The road will serve as a transit corridor for the movement of heavy equipment for oil exploration and production in the Chad Basin.

“These projects are expected to greatly enhance the prospects of Nigeria’s economic growth and will be undertaken using international best-practices.

“The approach for financing the programme is designed to eliminate risks attributable to funding, cost variation and project completion.

“At completion, it is expected that the investments in these projects will yield returns, which will diversify revenues to States, improve the fiscal sustainability profile of the Federation and ensure Nigeria benefit from modernised Infrastructure for decades to come,” he explained.

He said the Authority was pleased with the progress recorded so far on the projects.

“Leveraging the financing model adopted by Government under PIDF, completion-related risks on account of funding have been eliminated.

“Further, the model affords efficiency on project delivery and fund performance while allowing for value engineering which ensures completion at a reasonable cost and within the planned project timeline. It is expected that in the long-run, these investments would help improve Nigeria’s economic growth forecast.”

Commenting on the project, the Obi of Onitsha, His Majesty, Nnaemeka Achebe said it was heartwarming that work has commenced on it.

“The bridge will melt the heavy traffic that is usually felt daily as Onitsha is a paramount corridor. It’s a national project.

“President Buhari is doing well to put it on course. Nigeria will be transformed once the five projects are completed,” he said.

The monarch, while extolling President Buhari, lamented the abandonment of the project for many years.

“The design has been there over the years but somehow it has not materialized.

“We all have to keep working together.

“If you have any problem, let us know. The Council supports the project. As regards security, we will do our part and government will do its part,” he added.

The contractor handling the Second Niger Bridge, Mr Frederick Weiser of Julius Berger said the work was going on smoothly.

He said the company had secured marine equipment, even as he lamented that heavy rainfall retarded the momentum of work on the site.

“Two dredgers are already on site. Pillars have been done during the early stage. 820 people are working here. But it’ll increase to 1,200 later. We’ve a good relationship with the host community. 28 February, 2022 is the completion date subject to funding availability,” he said.

READ ALSO: Inland waterways: Lagos issues 7-day ultimatum to boat operators, dredgers

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