From Isaac Anumihe, Abuja

Federal Government, yesterday, disclosed that the Lagos- Calabar Coastal Highway project is being done under Engineering, Procurement and Construction plus Financing (EPC +F) in which the contractors will arrange for the financing.

In a statement, by the Special Adviser to the Minister of Works, Mr. Uchenna Orji, the minister said the engineering includes design and specification.

“This initiative provides a fixed price, fixed date, and transfers risks to the contractor. This type of funding requires only counterpart funding from the Federal Government. Such funds are sourced by contractors where they have confidence in the economic policies of government, which essentially entails allowing the participation of the private sector in the road infrastructure development through public private partnership (PPP) or EPC+F.”

He added that in the recent inauguration of the committee on compensation of owners of property that will be affected by Section 1 of the project, the minister emphasised the nature of the project funding and the workings of EPC + F when he said:

“And graciously, Mr. President has approved that this section three will start from Calabar, which is the end point of the project, and start running towards Akwa Ibom. So, the 700 km is procured under phase one, in phases, and it is EPC +F. EPC+F is engineering, procurement, construction, and finance. So, under this kind of arrangement, the contractor is expected to bring in a certain amount of money, and the Federal Government is expected to pay certain counterpart funding.”

To this effect, he said no patriotic Nigerian should discourage this kind of project where funding is substantially from the contractor.

“There is no doubt that Mr. President is aggressively tackling the backlogs of uncompleted road projects. In the 2023 Supplementary Budget, Mr. President approved funds for intervention on the over 260 dilapidated roads nationwide. The 2024 appropriation made provision for capital investment on our critical roads across the six

geo- political zones of Nigeria. The Honourable Minister has already made a great difference in the road infrastructure development roadmap of this administration through his new innovations on road construction and rehabilitation, his power of supervision, and his contract negotiation power which is second to none in the history of the Federal Ministry of Works. He has been touring round and supervising the various ongoing projects of the federal government, and the difference is already there. The people are testifying of the quality and speed of road projects being executed by the Renewed Hope administration. He has proven track records on road infrastructure development. He is not into rhetorics like many politicians who talk high but can do only less. The administration of President Tinubu is doing roads that will stand the test of time. The roads he is fixing will facilitate economic recovery. The patriotic Nigerians are already applauding the good efforts of Mr. President, but professional politicians are busy criticising a landmark project that will launch Nigeria into the league of the best economies of the continent.

“On the importance of the Lagos-Calabar Coastal Highway project to the economy of the nation, it is clear that the coastal highway, when completed, will foster national economic growth. Notably, all roads in the country are important as reflected by the interventions of this administration on road rehabilitation across the nation, but the coastal highway offers much more economic benefits to the nation because of its connectivity to the North and South through the existing spurs. The road, when completed, has the potential to increase Nigeria’s gross domestic products (GDP) and trigger industrialisation; create trade, enhance the transportation of goods and services, and safety of road users.The road is going to be the biggest super highway in Africa in terms of the structure and solidity as well as utility value, having 10 lanes with a rail track designed for concrete technology, covering 700 kilometers. It is going to attract foreign direct investment to Nigeria, and it is going to trigger economic development. It is going to develop the potential of our coastal businesses, especially at the local economic corridors, and boost tourism and marine businesses,” he said.