HomeNewsReps to investigate procurement procedures for Lagos-Calabar coastal highway project.

Reps to investigate procurement procedures for Lagos-Calabar coastal highway project.

On Thursday, the House of Representatives decided to investigate the procurement procedures for the multi-billion Lagos-Calabar coastal highways project, initiated under President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s administration.

The investigation was prompted by a motion titled ‘Urgent need to Investigate the procurement process and award of contract for the Lagos-Calabar Coastal Highway’, proposed by Honorable Austin Achado during a plenary session chaired by Speaker Tajudeen Abbas.

The House instructed the Ministers of Works, Finance, and the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice to submit all guarantees and credit enhancement instruments for the project to the National Assembly for approval.

Additionally, the House tasked its procurement and works committees with scrutinizing the contract’s procurement process. Honorable Achado raised concerns that the contract award did not adhere to due process nor receive National Assembly approval, necessitating a thorough investigation.

He highlighted that the Federal Ministry of Works had entered into an Engineering, Procurement, Construction, and Finance (EPC+F) contract with Hitech Construction Company Nigeria Limited. This contract involves constructing a 700km road and rail project from Lagos to Calabar at a cost of N4.329 billion per kilometer, featuring reinforced concrete technology, ten lanes, rail tracks, service ducts, street lights, drainage, and shore protection.

Honorable Achado noted the project’s potential to facilitate the movement of goods and services nationwide. The financing structure, as outlined by the Minister of Works, requires the Federal Government to contribute 15% to 30% of the funding, with the remaining balance provided by the private sector. Once completed, the road is to be tolled for a minimum of 15 years to recover all invested funds.

However, concerns were raised about the procurement strategy potentially violating the Public Procurement Act of 2007 and the Infrastructure Concession and Regulatory Commission Act of 2005, which mandate open competitive bidding for such projects.

Additionally, Honorable Achado expressed worries about the undisclosed financing sources and structure from the private partner, which could create contingent liabilities for the Nigerian government. He also highlighted that the contingent liabilities related to this project might contravene the Debt Management Office (Establishment) Act of 2023, which stipulates that external loans must be approved by the National Assembly.

Following a unanimous voice vote, Speaker Tajudeen Abbas referred the matter to the appropriate House committees for further legislative action.

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