Julius Berger Begins Ikoyi, Lekki Bridge.

The sum of N10 billion has been released by the Lagos State Government to bigwig construction outfit, Messrs. Julius Berger Plc, towards the excution of two major infrastructure development projects in the bustling city. The projects include the expansion of the Eric Moore-Mile 2 Road (which is the initial leg of the multi-billion-naira, multi-phase Lagos-Badagry Expressway rehabilitation scheme) as well as the Lekki-Ikoyi Link Bridge (connecting Lekki Peninsular Scheme I with Osborne Road in Ikoyi). Finance Commissioner, Mr. Rotimi Oyekan, who made the disclosure last week at Alausa pointed out that the projects were initiated in furtherance of the government's objectives of expanding and opening new roads for improved economic activities. He said, "Our bold commitment to the initial funding of these projects is to demonstrate to interested private sector partners the sincerity of the government in the total transformation and rehabilitation of urban infrastructure and welcome their hand in fellowship on reasonable terms and conditions in this and other areas of development and growth." The commissioner stated that the second tranche of the N275 billion Infrastructure Development Bond (IDB) for 2009 would soon be completed as the bond documentation was being rounded up. The first trance of N50 billion of the IDB, he noted, was over-subscribed, a development he attributed to "the public establishing confidence in our governemnt." The IDB issuance, which commenced last year, will span three years and is designed to bankroll long term infrastructural projects. The financing vehicle is regarded as an alternative to short term borrowing, tending not to overburden the citizenry with arbitrary levies and tax increases. Oyekan disclosed that government had established a Sinking Fund of N1.5 billion as Consolidated Debt Services Account (CDSA) into which is deposited monthly a sum of N1.8 billion, which is being managed by the bond trustees. He described last year's performance on Land Use Charge as encouraging as, according to him, the N500 million target was overshot by 100 per cent. A new N3 billion target has been set, he stressed, saying that there has been an improvement in the collection machinery. "Enumeration and assessment of properties in catchment areas yet to be covered are ongoing with a view of bringing all areas of our local governments on a common platform of uniform property taxation devoid of inconsistency of complaints," he disclosed. The commissioner added that, to facilitate the delivery of affrdable housing units to low income earners, government was procuring mortgage facilities while inculcating a new culture of home ownership. "The plan is to kick-start the mortgage programme by encouraging some civil servants to acquire/own their inhabited staff quarters in the pilot phase. Thereafter, the scope and intensity of the mortgage programme will be widened to embrace willing partners in the implementation of the scheme," he said. Oyekan went further, "I wish stress with emphasis that the reality of the all-pervading global economic meltdown will not dissuade government from prosecuting this programme as this is identified as one of the means of dousing the harsh effect of soaring and seeming uncormfortable cost of building materials. Presently, high-level discussions are being held with stakeholders particularly the participating banks, with a view to resolving emergent greu areas. Hopefully, the drea will be translated to reality soon."
Courtesy: Skyscrapercity

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