The Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola (SAN), on Wednesday, said the Federal Government plans to unlock domestic funding for road infrastructural development to the tune of N1 trillion.

It will be through Public-Private Partnerships (PPP), he said.

He noted that through the ministry’s tax credit scheme, big organisations like the Dangote Group, BUA Group, and the Nigerian National Petroleum Company are contributing to the funding pool for development of road infrastructure.

The minister spoke in Abuja during the opening of the request for proposal (RFP) bids on the highway development management initiative (HDMI) value-added concession.

He said the ministry has shortlisted 18 bidders for the construction of 12 highways across the country.

The 12 roads to be concessioned under the first phase of the HDMI are: Benin – Asaba, Abuja – Lokoja; Kaduna – Kano; Onitsha – Owerri – Aba; Sagamu – Benin; Abuja – Keffi – Akwanga; Lokoja – Benin; Enugu – Port Harcourt; Ilorin – Jebba; Lagos – Ota – Abeokuta; Lagos – Badagry; and Kano – Shuari – Potiskum – Damaturu.

He said: “What we have today is the bid opening ceremony for the highway development management initiative (HDMI).

“We are now nearing two years, and this is what those who advocate for PPPs must keep their eyes on.

“This is just how long it takes to make the broth. It is a long process, but can also be very rewarding. We have followed all the rules.

“When we started in 2015, all that was available to fund road infrastructure in this country was the 2015 budget of N18 billion.

“We have raised SUKUK from 2007 of N100 billion; the first SUKUK that was issued is N250 billion to strengthen 66 roads.

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“We have innovated and initiated tax credit schemes which have brought on Dangote, NNPC, NLNG, BUA Group and GZ Industries to contribute to constructing our road infrastructure.

“We have also innovated and recovered some of our common patrimony taken out of this country and taken overseas.

“President Buhari has recovered some of those monies; they have come into the Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund, and that has also expanded the width of assets and resources to roads.

“We are now at a very important milestone again, another type of PPP – highway assets concession where 12 roads (I believe) are under consideration. I think about 17 or 18 shortlisted bidders.”

Fashola said the ministry was collaborating with other agencies like the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), Department of State Services (DSS), and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to ensure that the contractors do not only comply with tax laws, but are credible, and without liabilities.

The Bureau of Public Enterprises and the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC), while commending the Ministry’s drive towards infrastructural development in the country, assured it of continuous support.

A total of 75 firms completed the application for the Value-Added Concession, which applies to the 12 selected federal highways for concession.

Following the evaluation process, 18 firms were shortlisted to progress to the next phase of procurement.

The Request for Proposal was advertised and the 18 bidders were required to respond to this request following a period for studies and due diligence on the selected routes of their choice.

The deadline for submission was at midnight February 22.

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