NSIA Detailed Project Update on Second Niger Bridge

Background

  • The crossing point between Asaba and Onitsha, which is currently served by the First Niger Bridge, is key to the socio-economic development of the South-Eastern region. The route is a facilitator of regional integration, and the primary corridor for trade between the South-West, South-East, South-South and part of North-Central regions of Nigeria. The first Niger Bridge was constructed in 1965, with a single bi-directional carriageway. However, due to exponential population growth and the high rate of urbanisation, the bridge is now stretched to capacity, especially during peak periods, and thus suffers continuous strain during periods of slow/ stationary traffic. The Second Niger Bridge (2NB) project (the “Project”) was consequently conceived to relieve the pressure on the existing bridge, increase the capacity of the corridor and provide significant economic benefits to the regional and national economy.
  • Project Description

 

      1. The proposed 2nd Niger Bridge is to be located downstream of the existing bridge on a new alignment. The full scope of the second Niger Bridge Project comprises of Phases 1, 2a and 2b and includes a southern bypass of both Asaba and Onitsha cities with an approximate total length of 44km. Phase 1 (the “Bridge” and adjacent roads) is approximately 11.9km and will be constructed and operated under a Design, Build, Finance, Operate and Transfer (DBFOT) basis under a Public Private Partnership (PPP) scheme. The Bridge will comprise of a 3.31 km long road section on the Delta side, including a 500m long toll plaza; a 1.59 km tolled concrete box-girder bridge with two superstructures; and a 7.0 km long road section on the Anambra side. It is expected that the Bridge would be constructed and delivered in 48 months. When completed, the Bridge and approach roads will have six (6) lanes with three (3) in each direction.
      2. Phase 2a is connected to the Asaba-Benin Expressway while Phase 2b is connected to the Onitsha-Enugu Expressway. Phases 2a and 2b together constitute the feeding Approach Roads, starting on the existing Enugu-Onitsha road at around Nkwerre-Ezunaka (before Nkpor) heading southwards towards the outskirts of Obosi and then across the existing Onitsha-Owerri road and then north of Odekpe, crossing Atani road and across the marshy area of Delta State heading towards the outskirts of the airport and joining the existing Asaba-Benin Expressway at Okpanam. These phases will be executed under Engineering, Procurement & Construction (EPC) contracts to be awarded by FMW.

 

  • Preliminary Physical Works:

 

      1. Preliminary construction works in the form of Early Works I & II have been undertaken and completed by the EPC Contractor. Early Works III started in May 2015 with an expected completion date in December 2015. Under these work streams, (i) an access road to site at Asaba has been completed and maintenance of road shoulder is in progress; (ii) soil exchange, sand dam and some embankment fill have been completed; (iii) Main Yard installation of camp offices and houses is in progress; (iv) piling and other sub-structure elements (pile caps, abutment and piers) of the West Bank of the bridge at axis 100, 110, 120, 130, 140, 150 and 160 are in progress; (v) a general maintenance of piling area is on-going; (vi) bored pile casing at the Onitsha side is in progress and (vii) detailed technical studies, traffic studies, ROW procurement are also in progress.

 

  • Environmental & Social Impact Assessment (ESIA)

 

      1. In addition to Nigeria environmental law requirements, NMIC is undertaking the project to ensure it meets Equator Principles, which are amongst the highest international social and environmental standards. A thorough Environmental & Social Impact Assessment has been completed, with Panel review exercise scored by the Federal Ministry of Environment (FMEnv) as “Satisfactory”. A final ESIA report was submitted to FMEnv on 19 May 2015 and the Federal Ministry of Environment granted the EIA Approval on 16 June 2015. Payment of compensation of the critical area (i.e. bridge location) has also been completed. In addition to implementing rigorous social and environmental standards, Equator Principles will make the project eligible for long-term financing by Nigerian and International Financial Institutions.

 

  • Project Cost and Government Commitment

 

      1. The estimated construction cost of the entire Bridge project was N108billion, about US$700million (at the then exchange rate of N154/$). The Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) made a commitment to contribute only N30billion constituting 28% of the Project cost. The JBI-NMIC consortium would raise the remaining funds for the construction, operation and maintenance of the bridge and adjacent roads of Phase 1 under a 25-year concession.   
      2. Out of the FGN commitment of N30billion, the FGN has till date contributed N18.31billion of its contribution comprising of; i) N8.464billion from Sure-P budget in August 2014 for Early Works II and ii) a further US$50million (approx. 9.8billion) from its Eurobond loan for the execution of Early Works III.   
      3. A total sum of N10.4billion of the funds allocated by the FGN has so far been disbursed, leaving a balance of about N7.94 billion of Government contribution with the sponsors. Funds have only been disbursed to the Contractor upon successful attainment of construction milestones, which have been verified by the Technical Advisor of the Project (WSP Group), and rigorously scrutinized by the NSIA.

 

  • Project Development

 

    1. As developers, the JB-NMIC Consortium budgeted the sum of US$5million for the development of the project, split into US$2.5m each. The Consortium put together a team of advisers with proven capabilities and global experience in PPP infrastructure projects to ensure the Project gets first-class advisory services. This is required to enable the project to reach financial close – the point at which private capital is successfully raised. The Consultants were engaged through a rigorous and competitive procurement process. To date the NSIA has spent the sum of US$2.21million on consultancy services provided by its team of advisers. An initial US$247,586 was spent on due diligence exercise to determine the viability of the project.   
    2. The advisers include:

Due Diligence Phase

  • FBN Capital (Nigeria)  – Financial Advisor
  • Murty International Limited (Nigeria) – Technical Advisor
  • White & Case LLP (UK) – Legal Advisor
  • WSP Group Africa (South Africa) – Technical Advisor
  • Zephyrgold International (Nigeria) – Technical Advisor

Project Development Phase

  • Africa Finance Corporation (Nigeria) – Financial Advisor
  • Clifford Chance LLP (UK) – Legal Advisor
  • Templars (Nigeria) – Legal Advisor
  • WSP Group Africa (Global) – Technical Advisor
  • Allot Nigeria Limited (Nigeria) – Traffic Advisor
  • Takedo International (UK) – Traffic Advisor
  • Aurecon (South Africa) – Environmental and Social Impact Advisor.

 

  • Project/Transactional Documentation

 

      1. The Full Business Case (FBC) is being reviewed by the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC) alongside the Draft Concession Agreement (CA). This will pave the way for the issuance of a FBC compliance certificate by ICRC with which commercial close can be established. Once the ICRC approves the FBC, the Concession Agreement will be signed and the Consortium will then raise capital for the remainder of the Project.

 

  • NSIA/NMIC Contributions

 

      1. Since joining the Consortium, NSIA-NMIC have provided significant value addition with respect to the project development. At the initial stage of its involvement, the NSIA undertook a value engineering exercise of the project, which resulted in a reduction of the estimated project cost. NSIA’s involvement also considerably improved the governance structure for the Project and assisted in managing the appointment of independent professional advisers to the Consortium.
      2. Apart from assisting Federal Ministry of Works in the negotiation of the Early Works contracts with Julius Berger Nigeria Plc, NSIA is also leading the negotiations of the key commercial terms for the project. In addition, NSIA is leading the capital raising effort for the project. Discussions are being held with Development Finance Institutions and many of them have already made soft commitments to funding the Project.    

 

  • Conclusion

 

    1. The 2nd Niger Bridge Project has an expected development and completion time of 4 years from Financial Close. Despite the challenges of this new experience, Project development activities are advancing well with extensive works on-going on site. This has been achieved by FG’s part contribution and significant investment by the project sponsors in mobilization, time and effort coupled with their keen interest to achieve financial close at the earliest possible time.  
    2. The project sponsors are committed to working closely with the Government and private sector partners in delivering this challenging but vital project.

 

 

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