Works Minister Unveils Highways Devt model Strengthening Parameters

From Lateef Taiwo

Nigeria’s Minister of Works, Sen. Nweze David Umahi, has introduced parameters that would boost quality delivery and management of road infrastructure under the Public-Private-Partnership, PPP, arrangement known as Highway Development and Management Initiative, HDMI, and ensure efficient utilisation of the completed projects by road users.

Umahi gave the indication during a meeting with the PPP unit of the ministry and Messrs Africa Plus Partners Nigeria Ltd, APPNL, concessionaires for the Benin-Asaba and Lagos-Abeokuta road corridors in his office on Tuesday, according to statement signed by the SA, Media to the Minister, Barr. Orji Uchenna Orji.

In the meeting, which had in attendance the team of the PPP headed by Ugwu-Chima Nnennaya, Mrs, and the team of APPNL lead by Mr. Dipo Lawore and Mr. K. V. Rao, there were discussions on the way forward to achieving a more effective operational model for the HDMI programme and more efficient contractual relations between the federal government and concessionaires.

The meeting dwelt largely on reviewing parameters, was necessitated by the heightened inflationary pressures, exchange rate concerns, reduced vehicular traffic on the highways occasioned by the increase in pump prices of Premium Motor Spirit, PMS, popularly known as petrol, according to the statement.

Speaking on the need for quality delivery of road projects and efficiency in project negotiation, the Minister listed what he termed Renewed Hope Model of the Highway Development and Management Initiative (HDMI), saying the parameters would be finetuned, agreed upon and adopted in all contractual relations between the federal government and concessionaires going forward.

The parameters, as highlighted by him, includes: a. the design of the project to be in line with the specification of the Federal Ministry of Works and investor can only improve upon it;
b. a reasonable construction period must be agreed upon; c. there shall be no variation on the project; d. 100% of one carriage way must be completed before tolling by concessionaires; e. the business plan must be in line with the socio-economic dynamics; f. terms of tolling of road projects must be in accordance with the Laws of the Federation, and standard contract conditions must be followed, etc.

In their separate responses, the team leader of the APPNL and the head of the PPP unit of the Federal Ministry pf Works assured the Minister of their commitment to the innovative initiatives of the ministry on road infrastructure.

They thanked him for pointing out that there was a dire need to review not only the cost of the concessioned project, but also the scope of the project to meet with the standard of road construction in accordance with the innovations introduced by the ministry under the Renewed Hope administration of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

They equally expressed their commitment towards a robust negotiation on the project review that would lead to a financial close so that work could commence without further delay, while promising to carry out further technical analysis on all the issues raised in the meeting and re-present same to the Minister for consideration.


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