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The federal government has approved a special Abuja Economic Summit for unbundling the huge economic and investment potentials of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
The event will also serve as a forum for exploring alternative funding for FCT’s major infrastructure, transportation and tourism projects as well as facilities and social services. The summit, which promises to be a gathering of leading investors, captains of industry, capital market operators and finance experts, is expected to hold next year.
FCT Minister, Senator Bala Mohammed, who announced President Goodluck Jonathan’s approval of the Economic Summit during a special tour of major ongoing projects within the FCT undertaken by the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA), said the summit would open the window for accelerated private capital inflow into FCT with a view to ensuring efficient and sustainable service delivery.
The projects tour, which was specifically organized for participants of this year’s Capital Market Committee (CMC) retreat of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) was designed to conclude the three-day retreat.
Mohammed stated that the summit would be used as a forum to attract development partners who would intervene to help the FCT Administration to complete some of its major portfolio projects whose completion timeline had become unrealistic due to funding challenges.
He listed one of such projects which are ripe for investors to take over as the Nigeria Cultural Centre and Millennium Tower Project, Central Area, Abuja. The N69.3 billion project, whose percentage completion of physical structures (excluding machinery and preliminary items) is about 34 per cent, requires about N31billion to be completed.
With October 2014 revised completion deadline, only a paltry N2.5 billion was appropriated for the vital national project in this year’s (2013) budget making it a potential candidate for private capital injection.
Mohammed also disclosed that the Airport Express Road (Umaru Musa Yar’Adua Way), Abuja, the Kubwa express road (Muritala Muhammed Way) and the Inner Southern Expressway in the capital city centre might be handed over to investors for tolling as a way of fast-tracking their completion.
He called on the Capital Market to help the FCT Administration get to the private sector up-takers who would help to unbundle the vast potentials of FCT and put it in pole position to compete with major global cities like Dubai and Singapore.
Speaking during the tour, the Director-General of SEC, Ms Arunma Otteh, said she was highly excited that FCT has many portfolio projects with high potential for self-sustenance and income generation. She said the commitment of President Jonathan to multi-sectoral development of FCT has begun to pay off as evidenced by several giant projects that are going on quietly in the Territory.
In her own remark, the Chairperson of the 2013 Capital Market Committee (CMC) Retreat, Abuja and CEO of UBA Trustees, Mrs. Oluwatoyin Sanni, said members of the Nigerian Capital Market community have now confirmed that a monumental project and infrastructure revolution was underway in Abuja which most Nigerians hardly know about.
Among projects inspected by the SEC and the CMC team were the construction of tanks 1 & 6 and associated trunk mains of the Abuja water supply scheme by Sarplast West Africa Limited, the Nigeria Cultural Centre and Millennium Tower Project by Salini Nigeria Limited, the construction of phases 3 & 4 Lower Usuma Dam Water Treatment plants project by Biwater Nigeria Limited.
Others are the Gurara Water Transfer to FCT Lot A Dam and Associated Works by Salini Nigeria Limited and the Extension of Inner Southern Expressway (ISEX) from the Outer Southern Expressway (OSEX) to Southern Parkway also by Salini Nigeria Limited.