Apparently to end the controversy trailing completion of Second Niger Bridge project, the Federal Government has disclosed that the project will be completed in 2022.
The Government added that atleast N33 billion has been released to ensure completion of controversial project, aimed at reducing travel time for commuters visiting South Eastern part of the country.
Managing Director, Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority, (NSIA), Uche Orji, gave the figure while speaking shortly after an inspection of the project, stressing that the government was committed to speedy completion of the project.
Orji, who visited the site with the Obi of Onitsha, Nnaemeka Achebe, expressed optimism that the project, which is estimated to gulp about N220bn, would not experience further delay.
He added that private sector funding for the project was being planned to be raised by 2020 through bond and equity.
It would be recalled that the project was awarded in 2014 by the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan. But since then, the project estimated to gulp about N220bn, has been experiencing delays owing to various challenges which had affected its timely implementation.
To end challenges confronting the project, Orji explained that already, a Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund to be managed by the NSIA had been set up for five critical road and power projects across the country.
He said the PIDF, with a seed funding of $650million, was targeted to catalyse funding for the Second Niger Bridge, Lagos-Ibadan expressway, East-West road, Abuja to Kano road, and Mambilla Hydroelectric Power.
The Managing Director said the PIDF would eliminate the risks of project funding, cost variation and completion that have plagued the development of the nation’s critical infrastructure assets.
“The Second Niger Bridge project was conceived to provide an alternative crossing between Asaba and Onitsha within reasonable distance from the current.
“It is expected to spur an increase in investments, agriculture and trade particularly with the Onitsha Main Market in the region, due to the improved and quicker access.
“There are three phases of the second Niger Bridge. The first one is the 11.9 kilometer bridge connecting Asaba and Onitsha. The entire work is a 44km project.
“The mobilisation for the project was released in August. We are confident that the funding is more stable now and we are looking at a completion date of 2022, it’s a big project,” he added.