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Reps Ask Umahi, AGF to Submit Lagos-Calaber Coastal Highway Credit Instruments

reps ask umahi agf to submit lagos calaber coastal highway credit instruments

The House of Representatives has asked the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Lateef Fagbemi, the Minister of Finance, Wale Edun, and his works counterpart, David Umahi to send all guarantees and credit enhancement instruments for the Lagos-Calabar Coastal Highway for approval.

The lawmakers passed the resolution on Thursday.

The resolution of the House followed the adoption of a motion of urgent public importance moved on the floor on Thursday during plenary by the member representing Gwer East/Gwer West Federal Constituency, Benue State, Mr. Austin Achado.

Recall that the 700km highway, awarded at a cost of N4bn per kilometre will cost the nation a total of N15 trn.

When completed, the highway is expected to connect Lagos to Cross River State, passing through Ogun, Ondo, Delta, Bayelsa, Rivers, and Akwa Ibom states.

Moving the motion, Achado, a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress said the house is “disturbed that the contingent liabilities accruing to the Federal Government of Nigeria on this project violate the Debt Management Office (Establishment) Act of 2023, as Section 22(3) states that the minister shall not guarantee an external loan unless the terms and conditions of the loan shall have been laid before the National Assembly and approved by its resolution. The guarantees issued to cover the debt financing component of this project do not have the approval of this National Assembly.”

The lawmaker added, “The Federal Ministry of Works has executed an engineering procurement construction finance contract, in favor of Hitech Construction Company Nigeria Limited, for the delivery of the 700km Lagos to Calabar coastal road and rail project estimated at a rate of N4.33bn per kilometre, using reinforced concrete technology for a carriage width of 59.7metres, to include 10 lanes, shoulders and rail with additional designs of service ducts, street lights, drainages and shore protection.”

He noted that the project  has the prospect of providing easy access for the movement of goods and services across the nation, and has a financing structure, as announced by the Minister of Works, “Which requires the Federal Government to provide 15 percent to 30 percent co-financing, while the private sector counterpart will provide the balance, and toll the road when completed for a minimum period of 15 years, to ensure full recovery of all debts and equity applied for the delivery of the project.”

Regrettably, Achado maintained that the procurement strategy of the project may have violated the Public Procurement Act 2007, Section 40(2) which requires that where a procuring authority adopts to use restrictive tendering approach.

“It should be on the basis that the said goods and services are available only from a limited number of suppliers and contractors and as such, tenders shall be invited from all such contractors who can provide such goods and services,”  he said

Similarly, the lawmaker argued that the procurement strategy adopted by the Federal Ministry of Works for the award of the contract violates the Infrastructure Concession and Regulatory Commission Act 2905, as Section 4 of the Act outlines that, “all approved infrastructure projects and contracts for financing, construction and maintenance must be advertised for open competitive public bid, in at least three national dailies,” adding that Section 5 of the Act further clarifies that “Any direct negotiations with only one contractor could be allowed, only after exhausting the provisions of Section 4.”

He further raised an alarm of a possible creation of contingent liabilities for Nigeria because while promoting the project, the Ministry of Works provided a rate per kilometre for the planned works but failed to provide the private partners’ financing sources, structure, and competitiveness.

Following the adoption of the motion, the House called on, “The Honourable Minister of Works, the Honourable Minister of Finance and the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice to ensure that all guarantees and credit enhancement instruments for the Lagos-Calabar Coastal Road Project are sent to the National Assembly for approval.”

It further resolved to set up an ad-hoc committee to investigate the procurement process of the contract for the Lagos-Calabar Coastal Highway project and report to the House within four weeks.

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