FG funding Lagos-Ibadan Expressway project – ICRC

The Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission has said that there is no new concession arrangement for the reconstruction of the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway.

It faulted reports that the Federal Government has granted a new concession over the road through “a back door arrangement.”

The ICRC said in a statement by its Head of Communications, Deborah Okafor, that to the best of its knowledge, there had been no new concession granted as required by law and the National Policy on Public Private Partnership on the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway.

It was, however, silent on the role of Motorway Assets Limited, which is currently looking for N150bn to complete the project.

The statement read in part, “It will be recalled that after the termination of the concession granted to Bi-Courtney Highway Services Limited, the Federal Government decided to reconstruct the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway as a traditional procurement through Engineering, Procurement and Construction. However, the government could not wholly finance the project and had secured private financing from a consortium of banks to ensure the speedy completion of the road.

“Government is bound to repay the financing arrangement (such as interest payment, loan repayment, fees, charges and associated returns on equity investment) either through the annual budgetary system or from revenues accruable to the government if the operations and maintenance of the road is granted as a concession to a private party.

“If and when the Federal Government decides to grant concession over the operations and maintenance aspect of the project, the ICRC, as the regulatory agency, will ensure that the project passes through a normal competitive process as provided for under the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (Establishment, Etc) Act, 2005 and the National Policy on Public Private Partnership.”

It added that any PPP structuring over the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway could only take place after the ongoing reconstruction was completed and handed over to the Federal Government.

The Federal Ministry of Works, according to the commission, will then commence the process of procurement of a competent project proponent to handle the tolling, operations and maintenance of the road in compliance with the Act and PPP Policy, which require that such a process must be done competitively and transparently.

Any new concession over the road must, in due course, be certified by the ICRC to have complied with the Act and policy, the statement explained.

It added, “Based on ICRC’s certification, the concession must then be approved by the Federal Executive Council as required under Section 2.2 of the Act. The Federal Executive Council is the only approving authority for PPP over Federal Government infrastructure.

“The Commission also wishes to inform members of the public that Bi-Courtney Highway Services Limited had instituted an action at the Federal High Court challenging the Federal Government’s termination of the concession granted the company over the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway. Arising from this case, the court had, on May 19, 2015, issued an order restraining the Federal Ministry of Works, the ICRC and other defendants from, among other things, taking any steps or action to “grant a re-concession or concession over the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway.”

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