Sunday Aborisade, Abuja
The Federal Government has concluded plans to concession 10 major highways in the country.
Minister of Works, Babatunde Fashola, stated this on Wednesday while presenting details of the project to the National Assembly Joint Committee on Works.
He told the lawmakers that the project titled, “Highway Development and Management Initiative”, is anchored on a private sector engagement.
He said the investors would carry out the development and management of the road networks.
He said the rationale behind the private sector engagement is that it would provide an avenue to mitigate paucity of funds, which had hindered roads development in the past.
Fashola said the first phase of the project will attract a capital investment of N163.323bn at a cost of about N16bn per each of the 10 roads.
He also said about 23,322 jobs would be created in the first phase.
The roads are Benin – Asaba, Abuja – Lokoja, Kaduna – Kano, Onitsha – Owerri – Aba, Sagamu -Benin, Abuja -Keffi – Akwanga, Kano – Maiduguri, Lokoja – Benin, Enugu-Port Harcourt, Ilorin-Jebba.
He said the investors are expected to provide streetlights, toll plazas, rest areas, and weighbridge stations.
The Minister further explained that the total length of the federal road network is 35,000km but that the total length of the proposed first phase routes is 2,275km
He said another 10 routes are being identified for the second phase of the Value Added Concession.
He said “The Value Added Concession through the construction of rest areas will reduce fatigue on the highways thereby causing a reduction in accidents as the routes will be better managed and maintained.
“Through the Value Added Concession, there will be job creation in communities that fall along the route which will bring about an increase in rural development.
“Improvement on weighbridge stations will reduce the incidence of roads having to bear loads above their design weight. This will improve the lifespan of the road pavement.”
On the capability of the would-be investors to handle the project, Fashola said, applicants will be evaluated on their financial and technical competence.
The lawmakers commended the Minister’s initiative and described it as a worthy project that would enhance development, provide security and jobs for young Nigerians.