Core investors in the construction of the 2nd Niger bridge, the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority, NSIA, yesterday raised fresh hope on the 2nd Niger bridge, with an assurance that the project will be completed in 2020. The Managing Director of the NSIA, Uche Orji, disclosed this while briefing State House Correspondents shortly after meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari, at the Presidential Villa.
This is coming few weeks after the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC) said it was withholding the Certificate of Compliance of the project until all grey areas have been cleared by the Works Ministry.
It will be recalled that the Second Niger Bridge was conceived under a Public Private Partnership arrangement, while the contract was awarded to Julius Berger PLC at the cost of at N130billion, following the dilapidated state of
the aging first bridge.
The project is conceived to relieve people travelling to the south eastern parts of the country the burden of travelling with fears on the old bridge which had been in use since the early 60s. But Orji while speaking with newsmen at the Presidential Villa, said the NSIA has so far invested the sum of $2.2 million on the project, adding that additional funds has been set for the completion of the project.
“Our commitment is that we have a vehicle called NSIA motorways investment company that partners with Julius Berger investments to become the preferred bidder in the second Niger bridge” “We are still going through the process of signing concessional agreement to become a concessionaire and to do all of that we need to prepare the project. The progress we have made so far is in preparation of the project.
Making sure that the environmental impact assessment is made, the bridge properly designed and funded through our financial structuring.”
He disclosed however, that the project is still at its preparatory state which he said has cost the organisation the sum of $2.2million. “This is a big project, the project we are looking at is 11.9km, the current Niger bridge is one lane going and one lane coming and what we are building is three lane coming and going, so it a big project. It is a four year construction period and we are looking at 2020 for the completion of the project”
He disclosed that the NSIA had met with President Buhari to brief him on the activities and the investments of the NSIA. “We also discussed the commitment of the NSIA on the second Niger Bridge, health care, agriculture and power. We also sought his support where his intervention is required and it was a successful meeting with the President.”
He disclosed that the organisation made a profit of N15.7 billion from the $1billion seed capital provided by the Federal Government under President Goodluck Jonathan “Government gave us $1billion which is the only contribution we have received and we made N15.7billion profit last year from the contribution. We haven’t gotten additional fund from the govt but the fund is structured in a way that it can go through hard time.”
– Tony Ailemen, Abuja