…says COVID-19 delayed second Niger Bridge completion
Some ciritical infrastructure project under the Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund have suffered delay in completion due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Such projects include the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, the Second Niger Bridge and the Abuja-Kaduna-Kano Highway.
They will now be completed by the first quarter of 2022, according to Nigeria’s Minister of Works, Babatunde Fashola.
Fashola told a news programme on Thursday that the delay was due to the coronavirus pandemic, which has slowed construction activities and affected government revenues.
The road project, awarded to Julius Berger Nigeria and Reynolds Construction Company Limited (RCC), at a sum of 167 billion naira, was earlier scheduled to be finished in 2021.
“As I speak to you now, we have lost essentially the prime of our working period which is the dry season in the Covid period,” he said. “We have to regain and recover all of that.
“We have also lost some of our expected revenue plans. At the time COVID-19 hit Nigeria, we were doing a 2.59 percent growth rate. Now we are heading for a recession globally and Nigeria will not be insulated from that.
“We are working on plans to bring the economy back on track,” Fashola told the popular television programme, Politics Today which air on Nigeria’s local television, Channels.
Mr. Fashola noted that while work was suspended on the Second Niger Bridge and the others during the coronavirus lockdown, earnest efforts were made to resume once the federal government started to lift restrictions.
Some 11 contractors executing 53 projects in 26 states were “remobilised back to site in the first week of the easing of the lockdown,” Fashola said.
“We had to work with the Governor to allow men and materials to move,” he added. “We also had to develop new safety guidelines for the construction,” he added.
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