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Construction of 2nd Niger bridge begins March – NSIA

By The Citizen
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Construction work on the second Niger Bridge will commence next month, according to the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA).

Making this known yesterday, in Abuja, during a press briefing, the Managing Director of NSIA,  Mr Uche Orji, said that the authority is now the lead financial partner in the consortium with responsibility to invest its equity, attract other equity partners and raise debt for the project.

'We already have soft commitment from potential equity partners. This will be the first federally-tendered PPP project in motorways in Nigeria and we believe the negotiated construction cost will be bankable in the current structure' he said.

According to him, the project is a culmination of 11 months of works-including negotiating with the contractors to ensure the project is bankable before commitment was made.

'This is a first but crucial step in the process and post signing this co-operation agreement, we are now negotiating the concession agreement and thereafter we will announce a timetable for getting to financial close. But between our equity, Julius Berger's equity, soft commitment from other equity partners and government viability gap funding, we are confident that flag off can commence in March, 2014' the March.

Orji also disclosed that NSIA is neck-deep in negotiations regarding Lagos-Ibadan Expressway.

'We have also been working on this for over 10 months and hopefully, we can reach an agreement on a bankable structure' he stated.

The MD, however remarked that it  has exhausted a total of $1billion initial capital seed funding for infrastructure development given to it by the federal government in 2012.

He  said that 20 per cent of the amount went to stabilisation fund, 40 per cent to the future generation fund and 40 per cent to infrastructure fund.

Orji said ideally  the NSIA has no more unallocated funds in its kitty, adding that all funds are profitable as of the end  of December 2013 Annual Report to be published by early April 2014 for year ended 2013 which is its first annual report.