The process for the construction of the Second Niger Bridge remains on course with the signing of the concession agreement expected to be consummated in the second half of this year, says Mr. Uche Orji, Managing Director, Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) and operator of the Nigerian Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF).
Mr. Orji who disclosed this at a media briefing in Abuja at the weekend said the realization of the project is still very much alive, noting that having successfully completed Early Works 111 (EW3) of the project in January 2016, coupled with about N17 billion allocation for the project in this year’s budget, engagements towards facilitating financial close had been given further impetus.
Orji noted that once the concession agreement and supporting documents are executed, the project was expected to move to a financial close, he added that the concession agreement for the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) project was expected to be signed in the second half of 2016.
On investment issues for the second Niger bridge, the NSIA chief executive, said in spite of the rather difficult economic and financial environment, there had been sustained interest from investors outside the country. He stated that an unnamed investor from the Middle East was also willing to be part of the funding, adding that he was excited by the fact that the project is well structured.
“It’s being well developed; it’s being well structured. With what has been done with the 2016 budget, I am impressed and confident that the project is on course.”
Orji said that in 2015, that the NSIA financial results showed that total comprehensive income increased to N26.3 billion, compared to N15.7 billion in 2014, an increase of 67 per cent, adding that the investment income of the authority stood at N5.8 billion, while its total assets, which grew by 20 per cent, stood at N213.6 billion at the end of 2015.
It should be recalled that last week there were reports that the construction of the 2nd Niger bridge had been suspended till further notice. A report which caused a lot of storm, especially from the South-Eastern part of the country, who have been suggesting that they have been marginalised in the current administration in the country.