Thursday, 11 May 2017

FG plans fresh concession of Lagos-Ibadan Expressway

FG plans fresh concession of Lagos-Ibadan Expressway

Babatunde Fashola

…considers Bi-Courtney, Motorways consortium

The Federal Government is considering a proposal to involve the former concessionaire of the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, Bi-Courtney Highway Services Limited, in the funding of the completion and management of the reconstruction of the road.

Our correspondents gathered that the proposed arrangement would see Bi-Courtney and the new concessionaire, Motorways Assets Limited, jointly form a special purpose vehicle to source for funds, complete the project and manage the road afterwards.

It is, however, not clear if the deal, which is reportedly brokered by the National Assembly, involves an out of court settlement with Bi-Courtney, which had challenged the revocation of its concession agreement by the Federal Government.

A closed door meeting held at the office of the President of the Senate on Wednesday evening, where the executive and the legislature finalised talks on the road.

At the meeting were the President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki; Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun; Chairman, Bi-Courtney Highway Services Limited, Dr. Wale Babalakin; and representative of Motorways Assets Limited, Mr. Abdulrasaq Oyinloye.

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Also in attendance were the Chairman, Senate Committee on Appropriations, Senator Danjuma Goje; Chairman, Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and Other Financial Institutions, Senator Rafiu Ibrahim; and Chairman, Senate Committee on Finance, Senator John Enoh.

Both Adeosun and Babalakin declined to talk to journalists after the meeting.

But a reliable source, who was privy to the discussions at the meeting, said the plan was to remove the road from the list of infrastructure on which the Federal Government was spending most of its resources on since the concessionaire would now look for funds to complete the road.

The source, who declined to be named, said, “Following series of meetings facilitated by the Senate, the Federal Government today agreed with two private sector infrastructure companies on funding and timely completion of reconstruction work on the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway.

“They had a formal agreement on means of proceeding with the completion of the road within the most reasonable time and in a manner that is capable of creating a template for the future development of infrastructure in Nigeria.

“As part of the agreement, a new special purpose vehicle will have shareholders, including Bi-Courtney and Motorways, and the two companies are expected to collapse their current concessions into the new company.

“The Federal Government is expected to support the new consortium with financial instruments that will enable it to raise the necessary funding, the new entity must be operated to the highest standards of corporate management.”

The source noted that the objective of the concession was “to ensure that quality work is done on the road, which is said to be central to the nation’s economy, and that the work is completed in the shortest time possible.”

It was learnt that the Finance minister would take the agreement to the Federal Executive Council for approval next week, while the concession terms might be signed by the parties in two weeks’ time.

Both Bi-Courtney and Motorways, however, refused to speak on the development, while the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing did not respond to enquiries by our correspondents.

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