The Edo State Government has signed an N228 billion agreement with the Infrastructure Corporation of Nigeria (InfraCorp) and AAA Infrastructure Nigeria Limited (Triple A Infrastructure) for the reconstruction of the Benin-Asaba expressway in the state.
The road project is to be funded by Triple Infrastructure and InfraCorp and supported by the Edo State Government as an equity investor under the 25-year Highway Development Management Initiative (HDMI) Concession to Africa Plus Partners.
Signing the deal at the Government House in Benin, the Edo State capital, on Wednesday, January 31, 2024, the state governor, Godwin Obaseki, who described the partnership as a great financing model for unlocking infrastructure development in the country, called for sustained partnership between states and the federal government.
Obaseki said: “Between 2000 and 2001 when a committee was set up to redesign the pension arrangement in Nigeria, the whole idea was to move into a contributory pension arrangement and begin a process of capital formation in the country by getting workers in the country to contribute their pension and these pensions will be invested in rebuilding the infrastructure of this country.
“That was the dream 30 years ago. I was on that committee alongside Comrade Adams Oshiomhole. It was the committee that gave birth to the pension funds that we have in the country today. Those pension funds have in excess of N16 trillion under savings but no outlet to invest them on, but forced to invest in short-term papers issued by the federal government.
“With transactions like this coming on stream, we will be creating opportunities for these pension funds to take our savings and put them into investments that will really develop Nigeria. This transaction for us is significant and we believe and hope that it’s the first of several that will come.”
On the economic benefits of the project, the governor noted: “The Benin-Asaba artery is very critical to the economy of Nigeria because it’s that route that moves bulk of goods from the port in Lagos State, in the West, to the Eastern and South-South parts in Nigeria.
“You can imagine the cost that transporters and logistics managers have to bear and which has been translated into prices because of the bad nature of the roads.”
On ensuring the timely completion of the project, Obaseki said: “Having started with this project, I want to implore you to fast track the process so that people will see that it is real and try to overcome the challenges caused by the rainy seasons.
“This is a call on the Federal Ministry of Works to urgently terminate all contracts of the Benin-Auchi road and put up that road quickly for concession like this and the Edo State Government will support it.”
On his part, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Triple A Infrastructure Nigeria Limited, Ike Chioke, said the agreement with the Edo State Government is for the complete reconstruction of the Benin-Asaba Expressway under the HDMI Concession to Africa Plus Partners.
Also speaking, the Managing Director of Triple A Infrastructure, Niran Ajakaiye, while revealing further details of the partnership, reassured that the project will be world-class, noting that the road construction project will commence from Benin in Edo State to Asaba in Delta State and terminate at the Second Niger Bridge.