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Private Sector Invests N300bn in Three Key Road Projects

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IMAGE: The Lagos-Ibadan Expressway. »

Story:   Patrick Ugeh


A total of N300 billion has been ploughed by private investors into three critical infrastructural projects – the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, the Second Niger Bridge and the approach road to the Murtala Mohammed International Airport (MMIA), Ikeja, Lagos surpassing anything the federal government could have mustered in so short a time.

Minister of Works, Mr. Mike Onolememen, who made this known Tuesday in Abuja, while playing host to the Chairman and government board of Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission, ICRC, explained that this underscored the importance of the public-private-sector partnership (PPP).

According to him, the huge investment by the private sector on just three road projects, contrasts sharply with the 180 projects struggling for the N100 billion budgetary allocation to the ministry by the federal government.

He said there was a huge infrastructural gap in Nigeria and that it was an opportunity for private investors to take advantage of this to “make a bit of money” since government could not fund all the infrastructural requirements needed for the nation’s economic growth.

The minister stated that with the N300 billion from the private investors, work would not only be started on the three major road projects, the jobs would be carried through to completion unlike what obtained in the past, which led to projects being abandoned owing to lack of funds.

He announced that after the ground-breaking ceremony of the second Niger Bridge, scheduled to take place before the end of the first quarter,   work would concentrate on the MMIA road before the end of the year and the Lagos-Ibadan expressway, which President Goodluck Jonathan had already flagged off.

Onolememen added that the federal government was already discussing with investors on the road to Bonny Island and another major road in Lagos.

Expressing pleasure that the Federal Ministry of Works bought into the PPP concept early, the minister said on completion of the three key projects, no one would have any doubt as to the workability and advantage of the method of project financing.

Onolememen disclosed that 14,000 kilometres of roads per annum would have to be constructed for the next five years and that there was need for the length of roads in the country to be extended from 200,000 kilometres to 300,000 kilometres.

Noting that ICRC was a child of necessity, he pointed out that the idea could not have been contemplated during the oil boom era.

Earlier, the Chairman of ICRC, Senator Ken Nnamani, said the commission had been championing the development of a Green Paper for the Federal Roads and Bridges Policy and looked forward to the minister’s decisive push to get the document accepted by the critical stakeholders and then approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC).

Taking up the gauntlet, Onolememen assured Nnamani that he would present it before the FEC at the appropriate time and hoped that it would be approved and stated that the ministry would continue to collaborate with ICRC.
“Once we succeed, and they (ICRC) succeed, then Nigeria will have gotten it right,” he said.

Describing the minister in glowing terms, Nnamani said his commission was happy working with the ministry to turn the second Niger Bridge, the Lagos-Ibadan expressway and MMIA road to reality.

“We also hope that with the dwindling budgetary funding, the minister would revisit the proposal to rebuild and manage other key federal roads across the country through PPP,” the former senate president said.

Article Credit: ThisDay Newspaper

Updated 5 Years ago

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