Umahi Clarifies Cost and Procurement Process for Lagos-Calabar Coastal Highway Project

The Minister of Works, David Umahi, has addressed misconceptions regarding the construction of the Lagos-Calabar coastal highway, stating that it is being built at a cost of N4 billion per kilometre, not the previously reported N8 billion per kilometre. This clarification indicates that the total project will amount to N2.8 trillion.

Umahi refuted claims that the project did not undergo due procurement processes, asserting that the contract was awarded on a counter-funding basis rather than through a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement, as alleged.

Speaking as a guest on the Television Continental News Hour programme in Lagos on Wednesday, Umahi responded to recent criticisms, including those from former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, who questioned the decision to award the contract without competitive bidding. Atiku also challenged the government to disclose the full cost of the project.

Umahi explained that despite challenges such as commodity price inflation and supply chain disruptions affecting construction material costs, the ministry is committed to prudence. He emphasized that the actual cost per kilometre of the highway is N4 billion, not the higher figure claimed by Atiku.

Regarding the construction process, Umahi clarified that the project was never intended to be a Public-Private Partnership but rather an Engineering, Procurement, Construction, and Finance (EPC+F) program, similar to the approach used for the Abuja-Makurdi road project. Under this arrangement, the federal government provides a certain percentage of counterpart funding.

Umahi highlighted the differences between PPP and EPC+F arrangements, stressing that the Lagos-Calabar project falls under the latter category. He noted that the counterpart funding for the project is negotiated and typically ranges between 15 and 30 percent.


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