• Monday, May 20, 2024
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FG offers additional 20.5 bn for completion of Bodo-Bonny Road

Video: Lagos coastal highway demolition: FG flag off N2.75bn compensation to property owners

The federal government has offered to pay an additional N20.5 billion for the completion of the 39 km Bodo-Bonny Road and other Bridge projects in Rivers State.

David Umahi, the minister of works disclosed this during a meeting with contractors and the peace committee on the project from Bonny Kingdom, in Abuja on Wednesday. He stated that the government do not have the funds to meet the N28 billion request made by the contractor (Julius Berger company).

Read also: Bodo-Bonny Road to be completed in Dec. 2023 – Fashola

The project, which was awarded through a partnership agreement in 2017 between the ministry and Nigeria LNG Limited to Julius Berger at the cost of N120.6 billion, was slated to be funded 50 per cent by Nigeria LNG Limited.

The completion date is set as December 2024

The project, which was supposed to be completed in December 2023, was put on hold by the contractor, due to the increasing exchange rate, which affected the cost of the project which is over 80 per cent completed.

He said, “The government is willing to provide N20 billion out of the N28 billion the contractor is requesting.

“No contractor will dictate for me. If you don’t like the offer, you walk away. I will not sign any contract based on the exchange rate. We should have respect for our currency. An agreement that was signed in naira cannot be implemented in dollars. It will be in naira.

Read also: Investors group hails first-ever N120bn Bodo-Bonny Road project attempt

“Julius Berger stopped work without giving a grace period. That’s a breach of contract. You cannot just bring receipts and expect the minister to be paying. Even a madman has some period of sanity.

“I am making an offer to pay N20.5billion out of the N28billion and we still have to seek presidential approval on this. The company would have to state through a letter if they accept but by Friday, if I don’t get anything we would return to our standing which involves termination of the contract.

“Our position is straightforward, we reject Julius Berger’s conditions and ask Berger to please go back to the site to complete the project based on our offer. Our offer is unconditional and we say, accept or reject, so you cannot subject our offer to your conditions.

“Berger should note that our 14-day termination ultimatum has gone and we will make a proposal if you do not agree with this.”

Umahi stated that the federal government will not approve or make payments for contracts with price variations due to dwindling foreign exchange rates unless approved by the President.

Read also: Lagos-Calabar coastal highway to cost N4bn per kilometre, not N8bn – Umahi confirms

He also appealed to Julius Berger to show solidarity with the government, as the country is currently experiencing economic difficulties. He however noted that the contractors had enjoyed substantial benefits during the country’s prosperous economic times.

Speaking further, Umahi said that the project will be completed in December 2024, with or without Julius Berger.

The 39 km long road, has cross culverts and two mini bridges with a distance of 23m each as well as two creek bridges at Afa Creek Bridge of about 530m length and Nanabie Creek Bridge of about 640m length. This is in addition to the construction of a major river bridge of about 750m length over the Opobo Channel.