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Thursday, 23 February 2017

2nd Niger Bridge: FG mobilises contractor to site




Work will soon begin on the Second Niger Bridge as the Federal Government has mo­bilised contractors to the site of the project.
2nd Niger bridge

The cheering news was bro­ken on Wednesday in Abuja by the Managing Director of the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA), Mr. Uche Orji.
At a press conference in Abuja, Orji said that the com­pletion of the multi-billion nai­ra Second Niger
Bridge linking Asaba in Delta State and Onit­sha in Anambra State would be done because the Federal Gov­ernment was handling it with dispatch.
He admitted that time had been lost in the execution of the project, but declared that with the mobilisation of contractors to the site, work would be ac­celerated on the project, adding that a new financing structure had been adopted.
According to Orji, “the Sec­ond Niger Bridge, I would say, went through a phase where there was a pause, as we went through a kind of transition from one government to an­other. We have reconciled most of the issues and we are work­ing to get back on course with funding. I think the contrac­tors have been mobilised once again and so they will get back to work.
“There is a new financing strategy which is being dis­cussed, which we are driving along with the Federal Ministry of Works. Once that is agreed, you will see a significant pro­gress on that bridge in the next couple of years.
“We did lose time, while we were trying to complete the transaction process and there are people who are working on this in the ministry. There was a bit of period of time loss but we are back on track. “But the financing structure is changing and once this is approved, we will move faster”, Orji said.
Also yesterday, the Fed­eral Executive Council (FEC) approved $38 million for the construction of the Nigeria-Cameroun border link bridge at Ekot-Ifiom in Cross Riv­er State. The consultancy ser­vices will cost additional $1.9 million.
The project, which is super­vised by the Ministry of Pow­er, Works and Housing, will be supported by the African De­velopment Bank and is expect­ed to improve relationship be­tween Cameroun and Nigeria, especially in view of the Inter­national Court of Justice judge­ment over the Bakassi Penin­sula.
The Minister in charge, Ba­batunde Fashola (SAN), told journalists that it is part of the link road to Enugu-Abakiliki Highway which is already be­ing completed and also part of the larger Lagos/Mombasa su­perhighway.
He further explained that “the Cameroun bridge is $38 million for the construction contract and $1.9 million for consultancy and supervision of the bridge under the Afri­can Development Bank pro­curement guidelines.”
Fashola said that another approval by FEC was the re­suscitation and completion at a cost of N32 billion, of the Ka­duna Eastern Bypass Highway which was started in 2002, and initially planned to have been completed in three years.
The 50-kilometre dual car­riage way with nine bridges over rivers and rail crossings, is yet to be complete 15 years after and the cost has escalated.
“When the project was first awarded in 2002 it was N16 bil­lion. We have had to get ap­proval for a N22 billion vari­ation and that takes the total project cost now to N32 bil­lion.”
Outgoing Minister of Envi­ronment, Amina Mohammed, also announced FEC’s approv­al of the Revised National Pol­icy on Environment which was first formulated in 1991 and last revised in 1999. The sec­ond revision is 2017.
Mohammed explained that “it has become imperative that we have this new policy frame­work because what we really wanted to do is to capture some of the emerging issues that have come since then as regards to environment.
“These concerns such as climate change, coastal erosion, desertification, erosion, pollu­tion and insecurity which have been exacerbated by the strug­gles for environment resourc­es, we see this in the country at all levels.”
She also disclosed that a team from her ministry had gone ahead to secure the site of a toxic dump in Delta State while relevant regulatory agen­cies are trying to fish out the culprits.



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