* Says Red Rail Lines will begin operating in 2022
By Emeka Anaeto and Babajide Komolafe
The preferred bidder for the long-awaited 4th Mainland Bridge will be announced in the third quarter (Q3) of this year.
The Lagos State Governor’s Special Advisor for Works and Infrastructure, Engr Aramide Adeyoye, revealed this in Lagos in presenting to the media the facts behind the Lagos State Government’s budget figures for 2021.
He spoke alongside the Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget, Sam Egube; The Finance Commissioner, Rabiu Olowo; The Health Commissioner, Professor Akin Abayomi; The Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Gbenga Omotosho; The Commissioner of Transportation, Frederic Oladeinde, and the Commissioner of Education, Folashade Adefisayo.
Aramide revealed that so far the state government had completed three of the six steps in the selection process, adding that the last stage will conclude between the second and third quarters of the year.
She said: “The third continental bridge was built more than 30 years ago and we should have finished on this fourth continental bridge.
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“And one of the things that has not allowed us, as a people and as a nation, to really close that is the transparency that we have to show if we are obtaining funds through PPPs.
“We started this process in November 2019, when we gave requests for Expression of Interest and in this way we declared to the whole world that we are going to open the field.
“That started the selection process. Of the 61 people who expressed their offers of interest, we selected 32 and from 32 to six. So we have all six.
“It is a six-step process. We are in step three of the process. We’ve seen the EOI, we’ve seen the analysis, and now we have the fourth process where we clarify and ask questions.
“And then we are in the process of concluding it, where proposals are received from the people about all the alternatives.
“The fourth continental bridge is a 38-kilometer highway and a bridge section that starts from the Abraham Adesanya highway to the lagoon.
“And it’s not just the Lagos state government that does it; we have consultants with us. In the event that they have some skills that, as a state, our people may not have. We have transaction advisers, we have the legal side, we have the financial side, we have the technical side, just to support the government.
“So I hope that before the end of the second or third quarter, between the second and third quarters of this year, we will be reaching a financial close where you have your reserve bidder and your preferred bidder.
“In the event that the preferred bidder has a problem or two, so that we don’t get caught in the gap, then the reserve bidder comes in.
“And I want to believe with all the transparency that we have shown, there is no reason why this project should not flow.”
The railway lines will start operating in 2022
Meanwhile, the state said it had secured a single-digit interest rate financing agreement for the Red Rail Line, which is scheduled to begin operations in the third quarter of next year (Q3’2022) together with Blue Rail. Lines.
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Speaking about the financing arrangements for the Red Rail line, Economic Planning and Budget Commissioner Sam Egube said: “In terms of the rail project, we are basically working with special funds that are available nationwide with first-tier banks, who have thought very deeply about the fact that they only get better if Lagos becomes more efficient.
“The country as a whole improves if Lagos becomes more efficient, so the country needs to come together through its various corporate and institutional mechanisms to ensure that we can get the kind of financing that is cheap enough without breaking the of back in the future.
“Therefore, it is completely Nigerian parties that are playing to make this funding available. We also have very strong support from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) ”.
Also speaking, the Transport Commissioner, Frederic Oladeinde, said: “We are aware of the importance of the railway lines to decongest Lagos, and with the financial structure already in place, we are targeting the third quarter of next year (Q3’2022).
“So all hands are on deck to ensure that both the Blue Line and the Red Line are functional. Especially for the Blue Line, we are talking about the section from Mile 2 to Marina, and for the Red Line, we are talking about the section from Agbado to Oyingbo.
“So by the third quarter of 2022, those sections will be operational.”