Umahi Inaugurates Committees To Fast- track Implementation Of HDMI Programme

Minister of Works, Engr. David Umahi has inaugurated three committees to fast-track the implementation of the Highway Development and Management Initiative (HDMI).

Special Adviser (Media) to the Minister,
Barr. Orji Uchenna disclosed this in a statement issued on Tuesday, January 9, 2024.

Uchenna explained that the HDMI programme was a Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement in the construction, operations, and maintenance of highways, designed in such a way and manner that the emergent concessionaires would recoup their investments through the toll and non-toll revenues as may be negotiated.

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He said, the Minister, while speaking at the inauguration ceremony harped on the need for the committees to work effectively and concertedly bearing in mind the expectations of Nigerians, in terms of transparency, standard, and efficiency in contract negotiations.

Umahi noted that the contract with some concessionaires had been consummated, but said that the current economic dynamics and the new policy direction of the present administration would require a review of the scope of work and cost implications.

He, therefore, charged the concessionaires to abide by the criteria set and the timeline for the projects.

“We own the design, you will own the cost of the project while we carry out verification on the cost of the projects; the idea is to scope the projects. We want to have a standard road infrastructure to toll.

“Our business is to ensure that your design conforms with the Ministry’s standard of design, that is why we are making the Director of Roads and Bridges of the Ministry to be the Chairman of the committee on Scoping and Design. We don’t want to do just a patch on the road and give it to the public for you to toll. The public will resist. We want to have a standard road to toll”.

He said, “ we have to provide an alternative road because by law you cannot toll road if there is no alternative route to it. It is very important that every of the projects must have alternative routes. The number of toll gates and toll stations will be determined by the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission ( ICRC). We also have to put CCTV cameras, Solar lights, and Security on our roads. Whatever that will make our roads safer is very important to us. All these must be considered part of the business”.

The three committees set up by the Minister for the actualisation of the Federal Government’s HDMI programme were: Scoping and Design, Financial Due Diligence, and Agreement Review.

The Minister expressed happiness for the progress made by 9 concessionaires in finalising their designs and documentation to achieve a financial close by the first quarter of 2024 and charged them to diligently work with the Ministry’s committees for the final processes.

Earlier, speaking on behalf of the Permanent Secretary at the meeting, the Director Highways and Bridges, Engr Awosanya Onatuga said the Directors and the concessionaires were ready to work concertedly to move HMDI projects forward.

He remarked, “the contract has been consummated but there are certain dynamics that will necessitate a review of the scope of work that will dovetail into the cost of each project, and the Minister is desirous to fast-track this process so that the second phase can take off”.

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