By FAVOUR NNABUGWU
The Federal Government has yesterday announced that it has completed the procurement process for the construction of a 2nd Niger bridge with Julius Berger/ AIIM Consortium emerging as the preferred bidder.
The Minister of Works, Arc. Mike Onolememen while briefing journalists on the progess made so far in Abuja yesterday after enclosed meeting with the consortium, disclosed that Julius Berger/AIIM Consortium emerged after slugging it out with other world class construction companies which include, ARM Consortium, Bouygues Consortium, China Harbour Consortium and Johnson-Matiere Consortium.
The project, which is packaged under Public Private Partnership arrangement for a period of 25 years will be delivered under design, finance, built, operate and transfer model.
Onolememen said the Federal Government has earmarked N30billion for the 2nd Niger bridge under the Subsidy Reinvestment Empowerment, SURE-P programme as part of its contributions to the project.
“I am glad to announce that Julius Berger emerged as the preferred bidder for the 2nd Niger Bridge”
He continued, “With this now, we will now move into the second phase that will necessarily lead to preliminary site work.”
Onolememen who said the ministry has obtained a no objection from the Infrastructure Concessioning Regulatory Commission, ICRC, which regulates all transactions under PPP, stated that with no objection, the ministry has launched into the second phase of the project which included detailed Hydrological and Topological Survey, Geotechnical Survey, detailed Environmental Impact Assessment and Indepth Traffic Survey of the project.
The minister said,” We have gone through painstaking procurement process that has lasted for about 13 months and at the end of the procurement, a preffered bidder has emerged and we have since obtained a no objection from the ICRC, the regulatory authority for all PPP transactions in our country and no objection also provided that we move into the 2nd phase of the transaction discussions.”
He remarked that building the 2nd Niger bridge was one of the election promises of President Goodluck Jonathan to the people of Nigeria, stressing that getting a world class construction company to handle the project signaled the commencement of the journey toward the actualisation of the project.
The President had at the inception of his administration promised to deliver the 2nd Niger bridge and the emergence of a preferred bidder for its construction, is first bold step towards the realisation of the project.
The minister informed, “With the dilapidating state of the 1st Niger bridge, there have been calls, particularly from the people of the South-East of Nigeria, for the construction of a 2nd Niger bridge”.