Outgoing Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, has urged the Highways Development and Management Initiative (HDMI) concessionaires to perform effectively to set the pace for the second phase of the project.
Fashola said this at the commercial close and contract execution ceremony of the Phase 1 of the Value-Added Concession (VAC) Road Corridors under the HDMI in Abuja.
“One of the things that excites me about this programme was the prospects, challenges and learning associated with it.
“The private sector tool must be embraced as it is done in almost every part of the economy.
“Between policy and result, there is a distance to track, and our democracy will be richer if we understand these things. Some people even fought the policy that it was favouring Dangote’s company.
“So, there is a lesson to learn here, hopefully, that your own performance at phase 1 will determine how the performance of those coming in phase 2 will behave,” Fashola said.
The Director-General, Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC), Mr Micheal Ohieni, said the scheme had both immediate and long-term economic benefits to the nation.
He said the immediate benefits the projects included creation of job opportunities for construction industry cluster professionals, technicians, artisans and unskilled workforce operating in the nation’s labour market.
“The HDMI PPP scheme will lead to the reduction of travel time and improve commuter travel experiences as a result of new improvements, and significantly reduce traffic congestion in urban areas.
“The development of this route is therefore expected to result in significant improvement in security and monitoring on the route.
“In the long-term, the successful implementation of the HDMI scheme will lead to imparting of new knowledge and skills on Nigerians with respect to highway development, operations and maintenance for continued sustenance of the road assets,” Ohiani said.
He noted that the projects have potentials to attract investments worth over N1.134 trillion in addition to job creation of opportunities for skilled, semi-skilled and unskilled labourers.
The Director-General, Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP), Mr Alexander Okoh, reiterated the bureau’s commitment of unalloyed support of it’s resources to the country’s development and procurement of infrastructure, especially through PPPs.
“As we move forward, I urge stakeholders to uphold the values of transparency, accountability, and collaboration.
“We must work hand in hand, ensuring efficient project management, rigorous quality control, and timely execution. Effective communication and coordination will be vital to the success of this venture,” Okoh said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the PPP model deployed for HDMI which is in line with the Federal Government economic reforms plan involves concession of the Right of Way of highways to private sector partners.
These partners have the technical competence, managerial capability and financial resources to develop, upgrade and manage the road infrastructure and furniture along the concession routes.
NAN also reports that a total of 75 responses were received from interested concessionaires, but six consortia responded by making nine applications out of the 12 routes selected for concession.