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Government launches initiative to permit individuals build, maintain highways

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The new Highway Development and Management Initiative of the Federal Government has given permission to private individuals to build, operate or maintain assets on some federal highways that are up for concession.

This comes right after the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing received the Outline Business Case Certificate of Compliance to commence the procurement process for the concession of 12 federal highways under the HDMI.

The PUNCH reports that the concession of the roads may also signify the return of toll gates as concessionaires will have to recoup their investments.

The Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission had handed over the certificate to the Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, at the FMWH headquarters in Abuja.

However, in new documents on how the HDMI partnership would be executed as obtained by PUNCH, the FMWH stated that there were two categories, Value Added Concession and Unbundled Assets Approvals.

In the Value-Added Concession initiative, the ministry stated that the road pavement and entire right-of-way would be on concession for development and management by the concessionaire.

“For the Unbundled Assets Approvals initiative, approvals/permits are issued for individual assets on the right-of-way on a build, operate and or maintain basis,” the ministry stated.

By implication, individuals would now be permitted to develop and maintain assets on the economically viable federal highways in order to boost the economic activities on the roads.

The FMWH stated that the aim of both approaches was to provide adequate highway services through the development of revenue-generating assets along the highways.

“This is key to maintaining the functionality of the highway as well as engaging and generating wealth for indigenous small and medium enterprises,” it stated.

It further explained that the HDMI was expected to be anchored on private sector engagement via the concession of economically viable routes to technically and financially capable private companies.

On how individuals and groups could participate in the scheme, the government said it was determined to ensure that its assets were entrusted into capable hands.

In view of this, the government advised interested persons, companies and groups to form consortiums of construction/road maintenance companies, financiers, toll operators, rest house operators, advertising companies, lane marking experts, refuse managers, among others.

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