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Lagos-Calabar Coastal High Way: Reps To Investigate Procurement Process

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The House of Representatives has resolved to launch an investigation into the procurement process of the Lagos-Calabar Coastal Highway project, raising concerns about potential violations of due process and financial regulations.

Naija News reports that the decision was made following a motion titled “Urgent need to investigate the procurement process and award of contract for the Lagos-Calabar Coastal Highway.”

The motion was moved by Hon. Austin Achado (APC-Benue) during a plenary session in Abuja.

Hon. Achado highlighted several issues with the award of the contract to Hitech Construction Company Nigeria Limited, including the non-adherence to the National Assembly’s approval processes and potential breaches of the Public Procurement Act 2007.

The project, which spans 700km and includes additional infrastructure such as street lights, drainages, and shore protection, is expected to cost N4.329 billion per kilometre.

The motion raised critical concerns about the Federal Ministry of Works’ procurement strategy, suggesting that it may have violated the Public Procurement Act 2007 and the Infrastructure Concession and Regulatory Commission Act 2005.

The former requires that the restrictive tendering approach, where used, should invite tenders from all capable contractors, whereas the latter mandates that all infrastructure projects be subject to open competitive public bidding.

Furthermore, the project’s financing structure, as outlined by the Minister of Works, involves a mix of 15% to 30% government co-financing and the remainder funded by the private sector.

The road is to be tolled for at least 15 years to ensure the recovery of all debts and equity.

However, details regarding the private partner’s financing sources and the competitiveness of the financial arrangement remain undisclosed, potentially leading to significant contingent liabilities for the Nigerian government.

Hon. Achado also expressed serious concerns about the legality of the guarantees issued for the project’s debt financing component.

He claims they lack the required approval from the National Assembly, in violation of the Debt Management Office (Establishment) Act of 2023.

The House has called on the Minister of Works, the Minister of Finance, the Attorney-General of the Federation and the Minister of Justice to submit all guarantees and credit enhancement instruments related to the project for legislative approval.

Additionally, the House has tasked its committees on Procurement and Works to thoroughly investigate these issues and report back within four weeks.