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The Federal Government says it has set six months for the completion of the dualization of 30km Benin – Lokoja highway, under the Tax Credit Scheme for the BUA Group.

The approval followed the N775bn funding gap on the construction of the road which was first awarded in 2012.

The Minister of Works, Engr. David Umahi who disclosed this during a meeting with all contractors handling the highway alongside stakeholders from the area, said the project must be delivered in six months.

Umahi disclosed that the project which is under the NNPCL Tax Credit Scheme of N122bn has a funding gap of N775bn to complete.

The minister said upon his assumption to duty, the ministry reviewed pavement’s texture of the project in conformity with the innovation introduced by the “Renewed Hope” administration to ensure best standards and durability.

He explained, “This project was first awarded in 2012 and later the last administration decided to review it. They reviewed it and dualized it. They also reviewed the project to N879bn but under NNPCL Tax Credit Scheme, the cost of the property is different from the commitment of NNPCL. NNPCL commitment was just N122bn and so, there is a great problem.

“There is a funding gap of N775bn and I don’t see where that money is coming from. So presently we have over N2.7trn funding that project from NNPCL, whereas NNPCL has a commitment of 2.58trn. We have a funding gap of N2.7trn to complete all NNPCL project.

“I first went through the road in September, and when I went through it, I was very satisfied that BPP and the Ministry did very fantastic work. But all I did was to keep the project but review the texture of the pavement. And so we allowed the existing carriageway to be on asphalt and then reviewed the new carriageway to be on concrete.

 “Being satisfied, so we went through the process of notifying the BPP, and from there, we went to FEC, and graciously, FEC approved, and so we are in the process of signing an addendum to the contract.”

“Mr. President has approved that BUA Group should do 30km of the road in 3 locations multiplied by 2, that is 60km on Tax Credit,” Umahi said.

He therefore, commended the BUA Group for their interest to handle the construction of the 30km carriageway under Tax Credit  Scheme.

The minister added that the intervention was targeted at the critical sections of the road that were already isolated when he last visited the Benin- Lokoja Road.

“Let me commend BUA Plc very highly, because on their own, they had indicated interest to do about 30km of the road on tax credit. That was one of the reasons I decided to go and revisit the road to know the section they needed to do and also to open the road,” Umahi said.

On his part, the Group Executive Director of BUA Group, Kabiru Rabiu, assured of the company’s commitment to deliver the project within the record time.

He said the BUA Group would in line with the directive, engaged three contractors to commence work on the site and finish within the six months target.

The Senator representing Edo North Senatorial District and Chairman, Senate Committee on Interior, Senator Adams Oshiomhole praised the determination of President Bola Tinubu in changing the socio-economic narrative of the nation through aggressive road infrastructure transformation.

Oshiomhole also lauded the “uncommon commitment” of the Minister of Works in achieving the vision of the President on developing road infrastructure.

The Senator, while commending the new paradigm in the Federal Ministry of Works, noted that the Ministry under Umahi has recorded unprecedented performance within the shortest period of time.

 “I was shocked that within 72 hours this Minister did not only hear the word of the President, he packaged what I have seen from the briefing to be a doable and workable approach to solving a problem that four or five ministers before him could not solve.

“So I wish to ask us to appreciate his energy, his drive, and his focus, without which we will not be here today,” Oshiomhole said.

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