Aborted Contracts: Fashola Vindicates Bicourtney
The Management of Bicourtney Nigeria Limited says it is gratified at being vindicated by Nigeria’s Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Raji Fashola in an interview he did with Channels Television yesterday morning.
According to the company, the Minister’s articulation of how governments’ failure to honour contracts impacts negatively on infrastructure development echoes its position on the matter.
The spokesman for Bicourtney , Mr Akeem Alaaya, said he was pleasantly surprised when he heard the Minister saying ‘’once you cancel a contract you are sending a negative investment signal, that you don’t respect contracts” Mr Fashola was responding to questions on whether the government is still open to concessions and public private partnership as a way of bridging the gap between the infrastructure deficit in the country and government funding which is inadequate and also if he will be revisiting the power privitization program. The Minister also said the way successive governments jettisoned contracts had done a great disservice to Nigeria.
Bicourtney which is a pioneer infrastructure company in Nigeria was awarded a build, operate and transfer contract to build the Lagos Ibadan Road but the contract was cancelled by the President Jonathan led administration. The company has insisted that the cancellation is illegal and that the Federal Government and the Minister for Works, Mr Fashola need to respect the law and allow Bicourtney complete its contract. Mr Alaaya said he hopes the Minister will take the next logical step and handback the Lagos – Ibadan road to Bicourtney whose concession was illegally revoked. The money the government is now expending on the road he added, can then be used on projects that can’t attract private sector funds.
Responding to Mr Fashola’s comments, the Legal Advisor to Bicourtney, Mr Tola Oshobi said the infrastructure development of Nigeria has been slowed down tremendously by the government inability to understand that it is only through public private partnerships that the country will get the rapid development it deserves. He lauded Mr Fashola’s comment and said if this government does right by concessionaires, it will inspire confidence among investors who are needed to develop the country.
While approximately N286 billion has been budgeted for roads in this year’s budget, it is estimated that about N1.5 trillion naira is needed to complete the almost 200 contracted road projects inherited by this government.
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