By Mashe Umaru Gwamna
The Minister of Works and Housing Babatunde Fashola has stated that private sector engagement in the development and management of roads is an avenue to mitigate paucity of funds which has hindered road development in the past.
Fashola stated this in his presentation on Public Private Partnership (PPP) on Highway Development and Management Initiative to the joint National Assembly Committee on Works, recently.
He explained that Highway Development and Management Initiative (HDMI) was created by his ministry to manage and develop the federal road networks, with the objective to attract sustainable investment and funding in the development of road infrastructure and to maximize the use of assets along the right of way.
“ The rationale behind the private sector engagement under the HDMI would provide an avenue that would mitigate paucity of funds, which had hindered roads development in the past,” he said.
A statement signed by Boade Akinola, Director Press said ten roads are to be concessioned under the first phase of the HDM initiative, namely: Benin – Asaba, Abuja – Lokoja, Kaduna – Kano, Onitsha – Owerri – Aba, Shagamu -Benin, Abuja -Keffi – Akwanga, Kano – Maiduguri, Lokoja – Benin, Enugu-Port Harcourt, Ilorin-Jebba.
The total length of the federal road network is 35,000km, but the proposed project in the first phase will cover a total length of 2.275km.
The project will attract a capital investment of N163.323bn at a cost of about N16bn per each of the 10 roads, in addition to about 23,322 jobs that would be created.
Explaining further, the minister said investors are expected to provide streetlights, toll plazas, rest areas, and weighbridge stations.
Accordingly, the minister further explained that the HDMI was broken into two categories, namely: Value Added Concession(VAC) and unbundled Assets Approval (VAA).
He added that the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing, (FMWH), Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission,(ICRC), Bureau of Public Procurement, (BPP) and Special Purpose Vehicle Concessionaire were the defined stakeholders to provide the regulatory framework in the implementation.
Earlier, Senator Adamu Aliero, Chairman Senate Committee on Works who co -chaired the Joint Session with Honourable Buba Abubakar, Chairman House Committee on works, stated that it was imperative to engage private sector partnership to tackle the bad roads in Nigeria as government alone could not bear the burden of fixing them.
He said the Public Private Partnership,PPP, reduces the financial burden of the government thereby allowing funds to be utilized in other relevant social economic sectors.
Senator Aliero assured the Honourable Minister of the tacit support of the National Assembly and promised to provide legislation that will strengthen and protect the laudable investment initiative.