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Nigerian businesses embrace Highway Development Project by Works, Housing Ministry

A high number of Nigerian local and foreign businesses have indicated interest in subscribing to the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing’s Highway Development and Management Initiative, HDMI.

According to sources at Ministry on Friday, the development follows the expiration of the Request for Qualification stage of the value-added concession that ended at midnight on May 31’ 2021.

This was discovered during the public bid-opening ceremony chaired by the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Works and Housing, Babangida Hussaini, held in Abuja. in conjunction with the Infrastructure Concession and Regulatory Commission, ICRC on Tuesday 01, June 2021.

In what turned out to be indicative of positive reception of the PPP developmental initiative, a total of 1,052 applications were received across the available three categories under HDMI.

These included 694 under the Value-Added Concession (VAC), the part of the scheme that will see 12 selected federal highways concessioned to qualified and capable private sector participants. Incidentally, only 75 of these applications for the VAC completed the exercise before the RFQ closed.

Others include 62 applications for the Unbundled Assets Approval (UAA), and 296 for the Vendors’ Market Place.

It would be recalled that the Honourable Minister of Works and Housing Babatunde Fashola SAN, had issued a Ministerial Notice that the PPP Procurement process for prospective private sector partners under HDMI will commence on March 29’ 2021, with a RFQ advertisement and the opening of an e-portal for HDMI: www.hdmi.worksandhousing.gov.ng. The RFQ lasted for two months till 31 May, 2021.

The public bid-opening ceremony therefore marked the first time of accessing the e-portal for the RFQ exercise, and also served as the beginning of the Evaluation stage for bidders that succeeded in completing their applications for the value-added concession under the HDMI.

RovingNaija recalls that the Federal Government had stated that it is committed to a transparent, fair and competitive bidding process for the 12 Pilot Road corridors earmarked for concession through the Value-Added Concession programme under the Highway Development and Management Initiative (HDMI) Project Life Cycle.

The Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing, Babangida Hussaini, at a ceremony earlier in the week said that the Ministry shall ensure that the procurement process is in line with the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC) act and approved Public-Private partnership guidelines.”

At the ceremony, the Value-Added Concession online portal was accessed for the first time since the portal was opened to receive submissions in line with existing guidelines. It was revealed that 75 companies successfully responded to the RfQ. The names and representatives of all the companies/consortiums were read out and duly recorded.

Hussaini explained that every proponent who indicated interest at this Request for Qualification stage and meets the basic prequalification criteria would be shortlisted and subsequently invited for the Request for Proposal (RFP) stage.

Also, the Head of the Public Private Partnership (PPP) of the Ministry, Mrs. Abimbola Asein explained that the Highways Development & Management Initiative was created by the Ministry with the objective to attract sustainable investment and funding in the development of road infrastructure and maximize the use of assets along the right of way.

She explained that the rationale behind the private sector engagement was to provide alternative funding source for road development and management, pointing that the Ministry was working jointly with the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC), Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning (FMFB&NP) amongst other stakeholders to see to the realization of the project.

“The buy-in of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) and the National Assembly had been obtained, and the nation is looking forward to a robust procurement process that will attract capable concessionaires that will develop and manage these routes,” she said.

The Ag. Director-General of the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC), Mr. Micheal Ohiani said that the (ICRC), as a regulatory commission had issued a Certificate of Compliance to the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing to proceed with the procurement process of the Value-Added concession under the Highway Development and Management Initiative (HDMI).

He assured participants of his commission’s role in ensuring transparency in the process pointing out that the initiative would develop Nigeria’s network of federal highway corridors and boost economic development along the Right of Way.

Mrs. Shulee John-Mark, a representative of NGO-Network who also witnessed the process described it as transparent and credible. Over 170 other stakeholders also participated in the bid opening ceremony virtually.

The 12 corridors under the first phase of the Highway Development and Management Initiative are: Benin – Asaba, Abuja – Lokoja, Onitsha – Aba – Owerri, Shagamu -Benin, Abuja -Keffi – Akwanga, Kano – Maiduguri, Kano- Katsina, Lokoja – Benin, Enugu-Port Harcourt, Ilorin-Jebba, Lagos-Abeokuta, and Lagos-Badagry.

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