‘Second Niger Bridge to be ready by 2019’

Niger bridge

Niger bridge

•NSIA unfolds financing details for project 

THE Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) has affirmed that the second River Niger Bridge, being planned to span Asaba in Delta State and Onitsha in Anambra State, would be completed and delivered within the next 48 months, going by the current approved schedule for the project.

Consequently, the flagship scheme, currently in purse mode, courtesy of an ongoing review exercise, may not be delivered until 2019. Already, NSIA has expended $2 .21 million (N440 million) on consultancy services on the two phases of the project.

Specifically, $1.96 million was spent on the project development consultancy phase, while $247,586 was for the due diligence part of the scheme.

The authority’s managing director, Uche Orji, who made the disclosure at a press briefing in Lagos at the weekend, also revealed that that the Federal Government has so far released N18.3 billion for the project, out of its initial commitment of N30 billion for the flagship project.

Orji explained that NSIA, with Nigeria Infrastructure Fund facility and acting through its wholly owned subsidiary, NSIA Motorways Investment Company (NMIC), is collaborating with the Federal Ministry of Works and Julius Berger Investments (JBI), as joint sponsors on the financing, development and construction of the Second Niger Bridge project.

According to him, the second Niger Bridge and adjacent roads will be11.9 kilometres in length, and is structured as a Public Private Partnership (PPP), to be constructed and operated on a Design, Build, Finance, Operate and Transfer (DBFOT) basis. “It is expected that the bridge would be constructed and delivered in 48 months. When completed, the bridge and adjacent roads will have six lanes with three in each direction.

The project was initially estimated to cost N108 billion, excluding duties and VAT, (if duties and VAT are included, the project cost is N117.9billion).

This was equivalent to $700million at the then prevailing exchange rate of N154/$. The final project cost would naturally be affected by exchange rate fluctuations and other variables,” he said.

On the financing arrangement for the project, Orji explained that beside the Federal Government’s N30billion commitment the consortium would raise the remaining funds for from Nigerian and international lenders and equity providers “The Federal Government has released N18.3 billion so far, of which N10.4 billion has been disbursed on early construction works,” he said, stressing that “NSIA assembled a team of Nigerian and international advisers with proven capabilities and global experience in PPP infrastructure projects to ensure the project gets first- class advisory services.

These consultants were engaged through a rigorous and competitive procurement process,” while “total consultancy services cost so far is less than one per cent of the estimated project cost.”

He added: “NSIA has put in place a multi-stage approval process for all disbursements, under which all payments involving construction are made only after approval by a third- party engineering firm, which matches work completed against amounts due.”

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