Second Niger Bridge

The Federal government has not awarded the contract for the construction of the second Niger bridge, and the Bureau for Public Procurement (BPP) is responsible, it emerged yesterday.

The 2015, 2016 and 2017 budget for the bridge have not been accessed because the contract has not been awarded.

The construction which is in four stages commenced with early earth work being carried out by Julius Berger.

The building of the bridge is yet to commence, the Toby Okechukwu-led House of Representatives Committee on Works said.

Though the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing has concluded early procurement processes for the award of the contract, BPP is yet to approve the due process.

Okechukwu said the construction contract would not be awarded until the conclusion of due process by BPP.

The delay by BPP may however lead to the demobilisation of workers from the construction site by Julius Berger from June when the earth work is expected to have been completed.

To demobilize and remobilize workers back to site may cost an estimated N10b, the Committee Chairman said.

He said: “The government hasn’t awarded the contract for the second Niger bridge. And Julius Berger is due to stop work by June and if they demobilize and mobilize again, it’s going to be very expensive.

“Am aware that the ministry has concluded their negotiations with Julius Berger and submitted it to due process. Due process is the one holding the process down.

“Julius Berger is working. They’re piecemeal, early earth works one, two, three and four. Early earth works four will end in June. If it ends, you’ll go through procurement again.

“So, why are you not procuring the entire contract? And there is no framework for expenditure of money put in the budget if you don’t have a contract. That the money put in the budget will be a waste if you don’t award the contract.

“And why should you award four different contracts going through processes for the past three to four years. So, there must be an end to every litigation.

“If this contract is not awarded prior to the end of June, it will be colossal in terms of the economic and financial consequences in the contract execution.

“If Julius Berger demobilizes and has to mobilize again, it will cost you not less than N10b. And more importantly, you’ll not be able to take advantage of the seasonal weather issues.

“The consequences is that we will still be talking about this project in the next one year. And they (Berger) have a process that’s on. We’re not at ease with piecemeal award of contract.

“Why don’t you establish a framework for the completion of the project by awarding a contract?

“That’s why the monies put in 2015, 2016 and 2017 budget for the bridge haven’t been accessed because it’s not awarded.

“The bridge would have cost N60b about 10 years ago, now it’s going to cost well over N200b and if we leave it till next year, it’ll cost well above that”.

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