EXPLAINER: Seven bridges built with tax credits, bonds under Buhari
To cushion the infrastructure funding gap in Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration devised fiscal strategies through the use of tax credits and bonds to fund the redevelopment of bridges on federal highways.
In 2018, the administration established the Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund (PIDF) aimed at fast-tracking the completion of critical infrastructure projects.
In January 2019, Buhari signed Executive Order 7, which establishes the Companies Income Tax Road Infrastructure Development and Refurbishment Investment Tax Credit Scheme.
This credit scheme is aimed at attracting the public private partnership financing model into road construction in Nigeria. Through this scheme, infrastructural funding is sourced from the Sukuk Bond.
Under the above two funding models, about seven bridges have benefitted since then: the Second Niger Bridge, Ibi Bridge, rehabilitation of the Third Mainland Bridge, Ikon Bridge in Cross River, Loko-Oweto Bridge, Kashimbila-Takum-Chanchangi Bridge, and Bodo-Bonny Bridge.
Built for the primary purpose of getting from one side of an obstruction to the other, some of these bridges have been fully completed, some are still under construction and the rest are yet to be completed, according to BusinessDay findings.
Second Niger Bridge
The Second Niger Bridge in Onitsha, Anambra State, had been in the works since 1976 until September 1, 2018, but serious construction works started under Buhari’s administration and it was completed in 2022.
To resume work on the project site, the Buhari government created the PIDF in 2018 and issued a new contract to Julius Berger.
The 1.63-kilometres bridge, which spans the Niger River, connects Asaba, Delta State’s capital, with Ogbaru, Anambra State. It has adjoining roads from Oko Amakom in Delta State to the bridge and from the Onitsha end of the bridge to the Obosi interchange, which bring the total distance to about 12 kilometres.
Upon completion, the bridge will ease traffic flow, improve road safety, and create greater opportunities for local residents by advancing the commercial viability of the immediate area and regenerating economic life.
Ibi Bridge is to be built under the public private partnership structure and would connect Taraba with Bauchi, Nasarawa, and Plateau.
It is a 2.3-kilometre with an 8-kilometre access road that was awarded by the Federal Government in 2020 at a cost of N57 billion and is projected to pave the way for Taraba State’s educational and economic development in North-East Nigeria.
Rehabilitation of Third Mainland Bridge
The Third Mainland Bridge is known for high vehicular traffic on weekdays, as it is the longest of the three bridges connecting Lagos Island to the Mainland. The bridge is an essential part of Lagos’ daily commuting, and as such requires to be constantly renovated.
The 11.8km bridge was rehabilitated during the Buhari administration, with about N4 billion spent on renovation and maintenance, as part of the project funded with a Sukuk bond.
It was built in 1990 for $1 billion and was formerly Africa’s longest bridge, but has since been surpassed by Cairo’s 6th October Bridge.
Ikon Bridge in Cross River
The Ikon Bridge is a 1.5km two-lane bridge that is located on the border between Nigeria and Cameroon in Ekot-Mfum, Etung Local Government Area (LGA) of Cross River State.
The Mfum/Bermenda road links Nigeria from Etung LGA of Cross River to Bermenda in Southern Cameroon. The bridge was built over 60 years ago under the Yakubu Gowon military government.
Reports have it that construction of the bridge began on April 28, 2017, and was completed in March 2021 at the cost of N35.9 billion, funded under the sovereign Sukuk bonds.
Upon completion, the bridge is expected to strengthen relations between both countries and improve cross-border security.
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The Loko-Oweto Bridge, a Sukuk bond-funded project, crosses the Benue River in the country’s southern region. It connects the northern and southern regions.
This bridge has a total length of about 1,835 metres and is made up of 20 conventional 85 metres of inner spans and two 67 metres of end spans.
The Loko-Oweto Bridge building contract was awarded to R.C.C. Nigeria Limited on November 2, 2011, with an initial completion estimate of 48 months, but as of 2018, it was reported to be 91 percent complete and scheduled to be commissioned in March 2023.
The Federal Ministry of Works and Housing allocated about N66.98 billion for the rehabilitation of the 91.94-kilometre Kashimbila-Takum-Chanchangi Bridge in Taraba State, which is still under construction and funded by the Sukuk bond. The bridge was earlier constructed during the military era as an alternative bridge to be used by motorcyclists and pedestrians.
The Bonny-Bodo Bridge and road is a 39km road project that will connect the Island of Bonny to the Ogoni community of Bodo, on the Rivers State Mainland. It features two major bridges in Okpobo and Nanabie.
It runs across four LGAs in Rivers State. The bridge project was first conceived around 1978, more than 40 years ago.
The project, which is under construction, is being financed by Nigeria LNG Limited under the Federal Government Tax Rebate Scheme and is estimated to cost N200 billion.