By Laja Thomas
The Federal Government has expressed its commitment to continue to improve infrastructure in the country,Â especially in the area of road construction and maintenance.
The Minister of Works, Housing and Urban Development, Dr.Â Lawal Hassan, said this yesterday in Lagos at the formal handover and flag-off of the 105-kilometre Lagos-Ibadan expressway to the concessionaire, Bi-Courtney Highway Services Limited, a subsidiary of Bi-Courtney Consortium.
According to Hassan, â€œit is with joy that I hand over the first concession road project; the reconstruction, expansion and modernisation of the Lagos-Ibadan expressway on Design, Build, Operate and Transfer (DBOT) scheme under the Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement as part of the Federal Government of Nigeria economic and infrastructural development reform agenda.
â€œWith this handover today, the Nigerian public will become more aware of this innovation and come to accept that PPP can be beneficial in providing fast delivery of infrastructual projects and also ensure steady and proper maintenance of these projects. It is for these reason that the Federal Government is pursuing the PPP initiative very vigorously.â€
He added that the Federal Executive Council approved the concession of the expressway to Messrs Bi-Courtney Consortium for N89,533,688,879.84 with a concession period of 25 years under DBOT scheme with 100 per cent funding to be undertaken by the concessionaire.
On the occasion, theÂ Chairman, Bi-Courtney Consortium, Dr. Wale Babalakin (SAN), said the firmÂ was honoured to partner with the government in its determination to improve the transport sector of the economy as a major necessary step towards the laudable goal of making Nigeria one of the biggest economies inÂ the world.
According to him, â€œ today we are witnessing an affirmation of President Umar Yarâ€™Adua commitment to advancing Public-Private Partnership (PPP), a universally proven optimal alternative to the provision of public services in a demonstration of a strong desire to bring about improvements in the quality of life of Nigerians and the right atmosphere for the creation of wealthâ€, adding that, â€œwe are particularly delighted to be part of the historic event of today where, through partnership, what would ordinary have passed as a wasting asset is being restore for the benefit of Nigeriansâ€.