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February 23, 2024
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Obaseki, InfraCorp, Others Seal N228bn Deal for Reconstruction of Benin-Asaba Expressway _…Partners Triple A Infrastructure, InfraCorp on a 25-year Highway Concession Project_ _…Charges FG on Concession of Benin-Auchi Road, Others_ _…we’re making history in infrastructure devt funding, says Edo gov_

The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, on Wednesday, signed a N228bn agreement with the Infrastructure Corporation of Nigeria (InfraCorp) and AAA Infrastructure Nigeria Limited (Triple A Infrastructure) for the reconstruction of the Benin-Asaba Expressway. The road project is to be funded by Triple Infrastructure and InfraCorp and supported by the Edo State Government as an equity investor under the 25-year Highway Development Management Initiative (HDMI) Concession to Africa Plus Partners.

Signing the deal at the Government House, in Benin City, the Edo State capital, Obaseki who described the partnership as a great financing model for unlocking infrastructure development in the Country, urged for sustained partnership between States and the Federal Government. According to him, “Between 2000 and 2001 when a Committee was set up to redesign the Pension arrangement in Nigeria, the whole idea was to move into a contributory pension arrangement and begin a process of capital formation in the Country by getting workers in the Country to contribute their pension and these pensions will be invested in rebuilding the infrastructure of this Country. “That was the dream 30 years ago.

I was on that Committee alongside Comrade Adams Oshiomhole. It was the Committee that gave birth to the pension funds that we have in the Country today. Those pension funds have in excess of N16 trillion under savings but no outlet to invest them on, but forced to invest in short-term papers issued by the Federal Government.

“With transactions like this coming on stream, we will be creating opportunities for these pension funds to take our savings and put them into investments that will really develop Nigeria. This transaction for us is significant and we believe and hope that it’s the first of several that will come.”

On the economic benefits of the project, the governor noted, “The Benin-Asaba artery is very critical to the economy of Nigeria because it’s that route that moves bulk of goods from the port in Lagos State, in the West, to the Eastern and South-South parts in Nigeria.

You can imagine the cost that transporters and logistics managers have to bear and which has been translated into prices because of the bad nature of the roads.” He continued: “60km of this road is in Edo State and a large portion of this road starts from Ring Road through Abudu and Agbor to Asaba. The Edo State Government at some point in time had to invest money to do remedial work on that road because we were almost cut off. “I am glad that the Federal Government has now concessioned the road and not just to anybody but people who know what to do and have real money, not portfolio managers who sign contracts and sell the same.

“We know the winners of these concessions very well and this transaction we believe in and it is very core to the economy of Edo State.

As a State, we have no hesitation to also invest our money on that road. We have already started investing as we have spent almost N1 billion doing remedial work on the road. Now that we have been offered equity shares on this road, I want to commit that the Edo State Government will invest in this concession to fast track the process and any other concession of roads that goes through Edo State.” On ensuring the timely completion of the project, Obaseki stated, “Having started with this project, I want to implore you to fast track the process so that people will see that it is real and try to overcome the challenges caused by the rainy seasons.” He further noted, “I hope that the Federal Ministry of Works would now consider very urgently to terminate the Benin-Auchi road contract and put up the road for concession as the Edo State Government will support that initiative because that is the way to go.

“Let us tell ourselves the truth, the Federal Government doesn’t have the kind of money required to rebuild the roads to the standard they should be and this is the way to go. The cost of this road, N228 billion, is more than a quarter of the entire budget of the Federal Ministry of Works. For us to continue the old model of expecting the Federal Ministry of Works to reconstruct our road is like a pipe dream.”

“This is a call on the Federal Ministry of Works to urgently terminate all contracts of the Benin-Auchi road and put up that road quickly for concession like this and the Edo State Government will support it,”

Obaseki charged. On his part, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Triple A Infrastructure Nigeria Limited Mr. Ike Chioke, said the agreement with the State Government is for the complete reconstruction of the Benin-Asaba Expressway under the HDMI Concession

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