Nigeria, China agree on N300bn Keffi-Lafia road extension down to Enugu

By The Citizen

The Federal Government and China have initiated over N300 billion agreements to be handled by some Chinese construction companies to extend the Keffi Lafia dual carriage way through  Markurdi to Oturkpo down to Ninth Mile in Enugu.

The two countries also concluded arrangement through external funding from the Chinese Export and Import Bank for the completion of the East West Road project extension from Oron in Akwa Ibom State down to Calabar in Cross River State.

The ministers of Works and Niger Delta, Mike Onolememen and Godsday Orubebe, revealed this to newsmen on the sideline of President Goodluck Jonathan’s State Visit to Beijing, China.

Onolememen said the Nigerian government has had engagement with China Harbour Company which has indicated interest in investing in the building of road infrastructures in the country on direct funding through the public private partnership opportunities made available by the federal government.

He said the Nigerian team was meeting with the Chinese Exim bank having completed all documentation and the agreement will be concluded tomorrow (Friday), for the project to commence in ernest soon in Nigeria.

Onolememen also said the project will help provide better access to that flank of the country especially between the north central and the south eastern part of the nation.

According to him, China Harbour Engineering Limited is also participating in the public private partnership bid for the expansion and modernisation of the access road to Murtala  Mohammed International Airport in Lagos.

He disclosed that the bid commenced last year and completed about two weeks ago but still undergoing analysis along side other contenders who are also competitive.

He said the Chinese Road Construction Company has also expressed interest in providing the access road to Lekki Free Trade  Zone and deep sea port that will come with a bridge, which could be termed the fifth mainland bridge and will cross the lagoon to Ikorodu which is in itself over a billion dollars project.

Orubebe on his part maintained that the funding was necessary for the development of infrastructure as available resources remain inadequate to fund such huge projects.

He said sequel to President Jonathan’s directive on the completion of the Oron/Calabar axis of the East West Road and the assurance that has come from the Chinese Exim Bank, it is expected that, the project would soon be completed, like sections one to four which the government promised to deliver by December 2014.

The Minister had also assured that the  loans would not go the way of those in the past by turning into bad debts as the federal government has drawn out plans to meet up with the aspect of its commitments vis a vis the resources that are coming to the country.