Tinubu has directed cement companies to revert to old price - Umahi

Umahi hits back at Atiku, says Lagos-Calabar coastal highway will cost N4 billion per kilometer not N8 billion per kilometer

The Minister of Works, David Umahi, has hit back at former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, saying the Lagos-Calabar coastal highway will cost N4 billion per kilometer and not N8 billion per kilometer as claimed.

Appearing as a guest on Television Continental News Hour, Umahi also rejected allegations that the project did not follow due process of procurement, stating that the contract was awarded on a counter-financing basis and not on a Public-Private Partnership basis as widely claimed. .

He also explained that although N1.06 trillion had been appropriated, the full amount had not been disbursed. The Minister said;

“People are just building castles without knowledge and don't know the numbers, I'll run the numbers for you. Let's compare the cross-section of the one the former vice president mentioned, which was renegotiated for US$11.1 billion for 700 km. So you have to ask now what was there to be built. And what was to be built was the only project available from the NDDC. They designed all 700 km, but we are not exactly following that standard or right-of-way. We have a different modification. The original design had two lanes on each side of the four-lane road.

“And in the middle, they didn’t provide a train line. It will just be a water collection basin. But the coastal road that we're building has a total of 10 lanes, you know, not only does it have a total of 10 lanes, but it also has what we call shoulders. And the total shoulders can be estimated at about 23 meters. So when you put in the total concrete pavement that we're doing, it's about 59 meters. When you put in the total flexible pavement that he mentioned, it's about 23 meters.

“And then when you run the numbers, you find that according to his calculation, that’s about N19 billion per kilometre. Now, if you divide it by the 23 kilometers they are traveling, it is about 2.225 times a standard superhighway, which is N11.55 billion. Considering what we are doing, if you divide it, you get N5.167 billion. So when you divide now using our 1.067, you get about N4 billion/km. If you go back to what he quoted, you will surpass N8 billion. So, using concrete, which should be more expensive given the type of land we have, and using flexible pavement, which should not support the coastal route, you will find that our cost is N4 billion instead of the N8 billion claimed by the former Vice President .”

Regarding how the construction project will be executed, Umahi stated that the federal government never imagined the project within the scope of a Public-Private Partnership agreement, but rather within the scope of an Engineering, Procurement, Construction and Finance program, such as currently used in the Abuja-Markurdi road project.

He said;

“This administration never imagined the project within the scope of the Public Private Partnership. He has always been in the areas of engineering, purchasing, construction and finance. And so, under this type of agreement, like the Abuja to Makurdi road project, the federal government is required to pay a certain amount for counterpart financing. And so, in this particular project from Abuja to Makurdi, which is being managed by China Harbour, the government is paying 50 percent counterpart financing. Then we also have Makurdi to 9th Mile, in Enugu State, where we also pay 50% counterpart financing. Therefore, there is a marked difference between PPP and EPC plus F. And in this specific project, there will be counterpart financing negotiated between 15 and 30 percent.

“When I was governor, I asked the African Development Bank to finance a project through counterpart financing and I used part of the money to build some sections of the road. Therefore, some of what we are building in sections one, two and three, currently funded by the federal government, will fall into percentage match funding. When we finalize the negotiation, it will be between 15% and 30%.”

Source: www.lindaikejisblog.com

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