*Says Red Rail lines will commence operations in 2022
By Emeka Anaeto & Babajide Komolafe
The preferred bidder for the much-expected 4th Mainland Bridge will be announced in the third quarter (Q3) of this year.
Special Adviser for Works and Infrastructure to the Lagos State Governor, Engr Aramide Adeyoye, disclosed this in Lagos at the media presentation of the Facts Behind the Figures of 2021 Lagos State government budget.
She spoke alongside the Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget, Sam Egube; Commissioner for Finance, Rabiu Olowo; Commissioner for Health, Professor Akin Abayomi; Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Gbenga Omotosho; Commissioner for Transportation, Frederic Oladeinde, and the Commissioner for Education, Folashade Adefisayo.
Aramide disclosed that the state government had so far concluded three out of the six steps in the selection process, adding that the last stage will be concluded between the second and third quarter of the year.
She said: “The 3rd Mainland Bridge was constructed well over 30 years ago and we ought to have finished on this 4th Mainland Bridge.
“And one of the things that have not allowed us as a people and a nation to actually close out on that is the transparency that we have to show if we are getting funding on a PPP basis.
“We started that process in November 2019, when we gave Expression of Interest requests and that way we declared to the whole world that we are going to throw the field open.
“That commenced the selection process. From the 61 people who expressed their offers of interest, we selected 32 and from 32 down to six. So we have the six.
“It is a six-step process. We are in step three of the process. We have seen the EOI, we have seen the analysis, and now we have the fourth process where we clarify and ask questions.
“And then we are in the process of concluding it, where you get proposals from people as to all the alternatives.
“The 4th Mainland Bridge is a 38-kilometre road and bridge section starting from Abraham Adesanya road all across to the lagoon.
“And it is not just Lagos State government doing it; we have consultants with us. In the event that they have some skills which, as a state, our people may not have. We have transaction advisers, we have on the legal side, we have on the finance side, we have on the technical side— just to support the government.
“So I am hoping that before the end of the second or third quarter, between the second and third quarter of this year we would be getting to a financial close where you have your reserve bidder and your preferred bidder.
“In the event that the preferred bidder has one or two issues— so we are not caught in the gap— then the reserve bidder comes in.
“And I want to believe with all the transparency that we have shown, there is no reason why this project should not flow.”
Rail Lines to commence operations in 2022
Meanwhile, the state said it had secured a single-digit interest rate funding deal for the Red Rail Line, which is scheduled to commence operations by the third quarter of next year (Q3’2022) along with the Blue Rail Lines.
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Speaking on the funding arrangements for the Red Rail line, Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget, Sam Egube, said: “In terms of the rail project we are basically working with special funds that are available nationally with first-tier banks, who have thought very deeply about the fact that they only get better if Lagos becomes more efficient.
“The country, as a whole, gets better if Lagos become more efficient, and so the country needs to come together through its various corporate and institutional mechanisms to ensure that we are able to get the kind of funding that is cheap enough without breaking anybody’s back in the future.
“So it is completely Nigerian parties that are playing in making this funding available. We also have a very strong support from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).”
Also speaking, Commissioner for Transportation, Frederic Oladeinde, said: “We are aware of the importance of the rail lines to decongesting Lagos, and with the financial structure already put in place, we are targeting the third quarter of next year (Q3’2022).
“So all hands are on deck to ensure that the Blue Line as well as the Red Line are functional. Especially for the Blue Line, we are talking about the section from Mile 2 to Marina, and for the Red Line, we are talking about the section from Agbado all the way to Oyingbo.
“So by the third quarter of 2022, those sections will become operational.”
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