Govt sets up committee to review Lagos-Ibadan road contract
- Monday, 30 July 2012
Following public outcry on the rate of accidents and performance of the contract for total upgrade of the Lagos -Ibadan Expressway, fresh facts emerged last week that Federal authorities have establish a project steering committee to review the memorandum of understanding it had with the concessionaires, Messrs Bi-Courtney Highway Services Limited.
Coming on the heels of a report by Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC) that the ministry signed concession agreement after recommending a detailed condition survey to ascertain the cost of the project and a clear risk allocation structure.
Recently, National Council on Works called on the Federal Government through its Works Ministry and ICRC to ensure strict adherence to international standard practice in all engineering design and procurement procedures, as well as act proactively to make the PPP initiative a success in Nigeria.
The 105-kilometre road was granted to Bi-Courtney on May 26, 2009 as a concession contract with a value of N89 billion for redesign, reconstruction, expansion, modernisation and maintenance for 25 years. Conceptualised as a six-lane highway from Lagos to Shagamu and eight-lane highway from Shagamu to Ibadan, the road will also have 14 new overhead bridges and by-passes as well as hotels, relaxation parks and other facilities.
Specifically, the committee job would be to oversee the contract, ensure value for money while providing adequate returns for the investor in Public, Private Partnership (PPP) project. Besides, in order to avail itself with best professional practice to help the government succeed on the road, the ministry has also hired a Transaction Adviser for the road, with experience in similar activities in South Africa, East Africa, Asia, Europe and America.
The Works Minister, Mike Oziegbe Onolememen, an architect, who confirmed the development last week, distanced the Federal Government from claims that the contract will soon be revoked in favour of some interests, admitted that there are some hiccups in the contract performance. “The agreement still stands and operative, but the agreement has not gone the way the contract was conceptualized. Its not about politics, it’s a federal road and responsibility for the road rests on the Federal Government.”
He reiterated the government’s commitment to ensure the road is delivered under whatever arrangement that would bring succor to motorists plying the route. He added that at the expiration of the four-year construction period, a way forward would be found to rehabilitate the road.
The minister disclosed that the Federal Government has began test run of cement-based concrete road along the Oshodi-Apapa Expressway, handled by Borini Prono and Julius Berger Plc, and a proposal has been received from the cement manufacturers association in that regard.
Onolememen explains that roads built with reinforced concrete will be expensive, but the ministry is experimenting and comparing the cost of construction. “It’s clear, the concrete road will lead in increase of construction, but on the long term interest of the road will be served.”
On the Benin-Ore-Shagamu axis, the minister said that the failed portions have been fixed and opened to the motorists. According to him, the permanent solution lies on the procurement of the Ore-Ajibade-Shagamu corridor.
He assured Nigerians that under the Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment (SURE) programme, the government would embark on the rehabilitation of Shagamu-Ore-Benin dual carriageway, and Onitsha-Enugu-Port Harcourt dual carriageway, while temporary measures would be on-going to assuage the suffering of the masses.
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