The hope of an early completion of the Second Niger Bridge has been dashed. It will not be completed and ready for use until 2020, Uche Orji, Managing Director and CEO of Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA), has said.
The bridge flagged off on March 2014 by former President Goodluck Jonathan was initially billed for completion in March 2018.
According to Orji who briefed President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday, on the Second Niger Bridge, health care, agriculture, power and other activities of the NSIA, the sum of $2.2 million has been spent on the project preparatory state of the bridge alone.
He said unlike the current Niger bridge which is one lane either way, the 11.9-kilometre Second Niger Bridge would be a six-lane highway comprising three lanes either way.
Orji who spoke to State House correspondents after he and his team briefed the President, said the volatile oil prices have prevented the Federal Government from contributing to the NSIA), after the initial deposit of $1billion in seed capital from the nation’s excess crude account by the Jonathan-led administration, to kick off the fund in 2013.
The NSIA was set up to receive, manage and invest in a diversified portfolio of medium and long term revenue of the Federal Government, state government, federal capital territory, local government and area councils, in preparation for the eventual depletion of Nigeria’s hydrocarbon resources as well as the development of critical infrastructure.
In recent time, oil prices have been unstable, stifling government’s resources as Nigeria currently solely depends on revenue from oil.
Orji, however, said despite the lack of funding, the NSIA had so far made a turnover of N15.7 billion profit, and that they had briefed the President on alternative ways of supporting the fund, which will be made known to the public when the time is right.
He said the fund was created in such a away that though it goes through tough times it will remain profitable.