By Bennett Oghifo
The federal government has officially started the procurement process to enable individuals and private companies bid for the management of 12 Federal roads in all six geopolitical zones of the country.
The Minister of Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, who, recently, presented the official ministerial notice of the commencement of the Highway Development Management Initiative (HDMI), at a hybrid onsite and virtual conference attended by top government officials and private sector stakeholders, recently, said potential investors could bid in the two categories of HDMI, namely the Value-added Concessions (VAC) and the Unbundled Assets Approvals (UAA).
The UAA provides opportunity for small businesses to take advantage of the commercial opportunities that are available along the right of way (ROW), while under the VAC the road pavement and entire right of way is concessioned for development and management by the concessionaire.
The VAC, he said would be rolled out in phases, and that the first ohase involved 12 roads namely: Benin –Asaba (125KM); Abuja – Lokoja (193KM); Kano – Katsina (150KM); Onitsha – Owerri – Aba (161KM); Shagamu – Benin (258KM); Abuja– Keffi–Akwanga (122KM); Kano– Maiduguri (lot 1 Kano-Shuari 100KM; lot 2 Potiskum-Damaturu 96.24KM); Lokoja– Benin (270KM); Enugu–Port Harcourt (200KM); Ilorin-Jebba (129KM); Lagos– Ota–Abeokuta (80KM); and Lagos –Badagry (79KM).
Fashola said these 12 roads were carefully chosen to ensure that each of the six geo political zones is covered.
“They aggregate in total to 1963.24 km which is 5.6% of the 35,000 km Federal road network.”
The minister advised “those who have been writing letters of inquiry, making offers of interest on the HDMI, offering to provide services like tolling, weigh bridge, rest houses and so on; we are sorry we cannot respond to those letters in order to maintain the integrity of this process and to keep the playing field level.
“To all of you and to those who have not written or called, the day is now upon us, the venue is fixed and I have the pleasure to announce that the HDMI portal https://hdmi.worksandhousing.gov.ng/) will open on Monday the 29th March, 2021.
“The portal will be open for all HDMI related functions as earlier stated and most importantly the RFQ application for the VAC which will be officially advertised on the same day.”
“The initial capital investment that we foresee is something in the order of NGN 1,134,690,048,000.76 and the employment potentials are an estimated 50,000+ direct jobs and 200,000+ indirect jobs.”
The process, he said started on the 17th June 2020 “with legislative consultation to get parliamentary support and endorsement which I believe was successful and we are assured that if there is need for legislative support, the response will be reasonably swift.
“It was followed by a Stakeholder consultation (webinar) which held on the 25th June, 2020 with Over 1,173 participants including critical stakeholders such as legislative representatives, representatives from the executive, prospective concessionaires, road users, media and industry experts; a market sounding session was also held on the 31st August, 2020 with 162 participants.”
He said in the course of the journey, government struck strategic partnerships with some high-profile brands who have offered their services in various aspects of the project development such as KPMG, UK NIAF, Lagos Business School, among others.
“We look forward to further exploring and strengthening these partnerships and the clear terms of the relationships will be notified to the public in due course as they are important to the success that we expect.
“As published, not only has the right of way of the 12 roads been fully gazetted, the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC), as a regulatory body for concessions of this nature, has issued the Certificate of Compliance for the Outline Business Case that is necessary to commence the process.”
Fashola said, on the 3rd of March, this year, the Federal Executive Council (FEC) was notified about the commencement of the procurement process.
He said, “In order to ensure competitiveness and to guarantee transparency, a procurement portal has been developed to serve as the interface with the public and manage the HDMI from Procurement to Implementation.
“The portal will provide: an interface that will provide the public all the information they need to know about the Initiative. It will give access to relevant documents, news updates, videos and so on; E-procurement – The management of the PPP procurement process of the VAC and the process of approvals and permits under the UAA; Vendor Market Place – This has specifically been included to promote local businesses and vendor partnerships with prospective concessionaires.