By Hutson Efosa
The Nigerian Government says 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, Federal Ministry of Works and Housing, Babangida Hussaini, stated this during the official virtual Request for Qualification (RfQ) bid opening ceremony held at the Conference Room of the Ministry, Tuesday, June 1st, 2021.
The Request for Qualification Bid Opening Ceremony signaled the commencement of the Value-Added Concession Evaluation Exercise.
The Permanent Secretary said, “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 further 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.
Speaking on the initiative, 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.
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.
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, representative of NGO-Network, who witnessed the process described it as transparent and credible.
Over 170 other stakeholders also participated in the bid opening ceremony virtually.