Nigeria seeks to drive better roads through private capital

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Nigerians may soon enjoy better roads as the Federal Government is finalising concession plans for several roads across the country to attract private capital through the Public-Private Partnership model facilitated through Highway Development and Management Initiative (HDMI).

The HDMI is being facilitated by the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing and the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC).

The Federal Government is to officially commence the procurement process for the highway concessions under the initiative, having received certificate of compliance from ICRC, said Minister of Works and Housing Babatunde Fashola.

It is expected that procurement for 12 selected federal highway routes under the HDMI will commence after approval by the Federal Executive Council.

The roads are Benin-Asaba (125km), Abuja-Lokoja (193km), Kano-Katsina (150km), Onitsha-Owerri-Aba (161km), Shagamu-Benin (258km), Abuja-Keffi-Akwanga (122km), Kano-Shuari (100km), Potiskum-Damaturu (96.24km), Lokoja-Benin (270km), Enugu-Port Harcourt (200km), Ilorin-Jebba (129km), Lagos-Otta-Abeokuta (80km), and Lagos-Badagry-Seme (79km).

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Fashola said the HDMI would facilitate further development of Nigeria’s federal highway network by bringing in investment to improve efficiency, accountability, and profitable entrepreneurship to the operation, management, and maintenance of all assets within the Right of Way on the highways.

He noted that the initiative has further affirmed the President Muhammadu Buhari administration’s commitment to infrastructure development funding which has been driven by the Road Infrastructure Development and Refurbishment Investment Tax Credit Scheme Order of 2018, the Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund (PIDF) being managed by the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) and the SUKUK Fund.

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He said through such initiatives the Federal Government has been leveraging on private sector funding and participation in the development of critical infrastructure across the country and the HDMI is another innovation developed to attract the private sector.

The minister, who spoke at the official handover of the Certificate of Compliance by ICRC, explained that the HDMI was a fully home-grown idea that would deliver a safer and enjoyable travel experience for Nigerian road users as travel time would be shortened, cost reduced, and commercial activities stimulated.

Explaining further, he said the HDMI is an indigenous Land Value Capture scheme conceived by the ministry to develop Nigeria’s network of federal highway corridors and boost economic development along the Right of Way. He added that it would be executed in two parts comprising Value Added Concession (VAC) and Unbundled Assets Approval (UAA).

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“Apart from infrastructure and assets development, thousands of jobs will be created for Nigerians as the initiative will open up the highway economy with opportunities in various economic activities including fabrication of gantries and directional signages with advertising opportunities, towing van operations and auto repair stations, operation of rest areas and emergency services, among others,” Fashola said.

“When fully operational, road users will now enjoy first-class facilities on federal highways with directional signages, well-equipped rest areas, round-the-clock security patrol, and ambulance services for emergencies,” he said.

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