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Umahi: Third Mainland Bridge Rehabilitation Will Be Replicated Across Nigeria 

Third Mainland Bridge rehabilitation efforts are being replicated on a bridge in Lokoja amid other projects, Dave Umahi says.

Speaking with ARISE NEWS on Thursday concerning infrastructure development for regions beyond the southwest, Nigeria’s Minister of Works, Dave Umahi shared insights into some of his goals for certain regions in Nigeria, assuring that infrastructural development will not stop at just the Third Mainland bridge, but will continue in other areas.

He specifically mentioned the current work going on along the Lokoja-Benin axis and his plans to “understudy” other bridges across the nation.

“We are redesigning a number of infrastructure we met on ground. I must commend Mr. President. He asked me to carry on with all the projects first and foremost, then we now see the priorities we are going to give to a number of major projects per region. That’s what we’re doing on the basis of equity and fairness. 

“What we are doing on Third Mainland bridge, we are also doing it in Muritala Mohammed bridge in Lokoja and we are also going to understudy other bridges across the nation. Some of these bridges were built 50 years ago and there is a need to understudy what is going on.

“In eastwest road, there are a lot of failures. You cannot build eastwest road on asphalt. It is failing. Some of the sections were built below the flood levels. We’ve isolated those locations that have flood levels. We are treating some of them.

“Let me tell you what I’m doing in Lokoja-Benin and also Benin-Warri. I’ve redesigned those projects on concrete. Beautiful job is going on on concrete on Benin-Warri.”

Regarding funding, the minister shed light on the financial mechanisms supporting these endeavors, notably the NNPC tax credit scheme, which covers a substantial portion of the project costs. However, a funding gap remains, necessitating further consideration and potentially alternative financing solutions.

“Majority of the projects ongoing now are inherited projects of the NNPC tax credit. NNPC tax credit total cost as of today is about 5.39 trillion. And what they are committing is 2.58 trillion, so we have a funding gap of 2.7 trillion. They say that they don’t have the ability to do that. My fear is that the job should not stop, even though the spread of that job was not very good, because you have 27% for south-south, 27% for north central, 14% for north-west, 3% for south-east, and 4% for south-west.”

Furthermore, the discussion touched upon fluctuations in the exchange rate and how government can reinvest the markup into other projects if the naira-dollar exchange rate decreases further.

“I’ve not used dollar. I don’t use dollars to determine my cost. I just used dollars because his excellency Atiku Abubakar quoted dollars. So, I had to bring it back to naira for the purpose of running figures and for the purpose of their comparative analysis.

“You cannot make a contract in naira and then tell me that I should also give consideration for the valuation of the naira. You are cheating the country. I do not accept it. I don’t agree with that.”

Melissa Enoch

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