The federal government has given an assurance that the Abuja-Kaduna-Zaria-Kano Expressway would be delivered in 2023.
The Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, gave the assurance Thursday during the Special Weekly briefing organised by the Presidential Communications Team at the State House, Abuja.
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The briefing was to enable him to provide further updates on key collaborations between the Federal Government and the State Governments in the implementation of some of the major reforms being executed by the Ministry and the Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund (PIDF).
On when the projects will be completed, Fashola said Lagos-Ibadan Express Way and Second Niger Bridge were on course to be completed this year 2022, while the main Carriageway of Abuja-Kaduna-Zaria-Kano expressway is scheduled for completion by Q2 2023, adding that ancillary works will be completed later.
He said Second Niger Bridge, which was billed for completion last month, February but was delayed due to the COVID-19 lockdown and EndSARS protests, is now at 91 per cent completion.
Fashola put the money so far spent on Abuja-Kaduna-Zaria-Kano Expressway, Second Niger Bridge, and Lagos-Ibadan Expressway (127km) at N1.3trn.
He listed the cost and distance of three major PIDF projects to include Abuja-Kaduna-Zaria-Kano Expressway (375km): N797 billion; Second Niger Bridge (11.59km): N206 billion and Lagos-Ibadan Expressway (127km): N310 billion.
“The Lagos-Ibadan expressway will be delivered this year, subject to how we navigate the pricing issues.
“Second Niger Bridge also this year, while the main carriageway of Abuja-Kaduna-Zaria-Kano expressway is scheduled for completion by the second quarter of 2023 before the President leaves office at the end of his tenure
“There is ancillary work that cannot be finished next year; the service lanes and truck parks, toll plazas, but that will continue because the funding is properly structured and the NSI is trying to mobilize some private capital now into the project,” he said.
According to him, thousands of jobs have been created through the execution of the three projects, as he highlighted the economic benefits of the three.
“The three projects have been able to collectively create 5,246 direct jobs and 13,998 indirect jobs.
“This is a major link chain of the economic agenda of this country because right now people are getting something to do.
“If you analyze the GDP results sectorally, you will see that mining is thriving, you will see that the construction sector is booming, you will see petroleum products also booming, this is part of the reason why.
“And then you see the food vendors also making money because at each construction site, people must eat twice a day. A plate of food was N250 before the cost of living started going up.
“This is a major economic driver. We focus more on the roads but you will see the millions or hundreds of thousands of tons of cement that are churned out from the cement industry, where they are now working at full steam and many people are employed there.
“Each of these projects has a bank guarantee for the money they get and such guarantees are not given for free.
“The contracts also have a 7.5 per cent Value Added Tax, which when collected, 85 per cent of it goes to the States,” he explained.