The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, has disclosed that the federal government has so far released N157bn for the Second Niger Bridge project.
The minister disclosed this while on an inspection of the site along with the Chairman, Board of Directors of the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA), Mr Farouk Gumel, and the NSIA Managing Director, Uche Orji on Saturday.
The project is being implemented by the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority with funding from the Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund.
It is being constructed by Julius Berger Nigeria Plc and involves the construction of a 1.6km bridge over the River Niger, scheduled for completion in August 2022; construction of two secondary bridges at CH25+166 (Amakom village road) and CH28+304 (Atani road) spanning 21.7m each, which have now been completed.
Others are the demolition of the existing flyover and construction of a new interchange at CH34+100 (Onitsha-Owerri road), scheduled for completion in August 2022.
Speaking shortly after the inspection, the finance minister said: “Today is a very significant day in the construction circle of the second Niger Bridge, this is one of the most iconic projects in the country built at an initial contract cost of N206bn.
“Today, we have been able to fund this project with N157bn and I’m here to see where all this money is going. And also, the significance of today is that the two ends of the bridge are being put together and this is the final phase of the work in truly completing the project and the finishing work of the bridge.”
Ahmed said the project has been going on 24/7 and people are working in shift jobs have been created for up to about 20,000 people.
Commenting on the project, Mr Farouk Gumel, Chairman, NSIA said “The board is pleased with the quality and pace of work. Undoubtedly, the 2nd Niger Bridge is a vital piece of national infrastructure.
“At completion, we expect that it will serve as an enabler to cross-regional economic activities and stimulate growth on a national scale.”
Also speaking on the funding structure of the project, the NSIA MD said the second Niger Bridge is one of the three projects being funded by the Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund.
The other two projects are the Abuja-Kaduna-Kano road project and the Lagos-Ibadan express road project.