Construction of the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway may not start anytime soon, investigation by The PUNCH has revealed.
Also, no definite date for the signing of the contract and commencement of major work on the road has been fixed, our correspondent learnt.
The construction companies to handle the projects Julius Berger Plc and RCC Nigeria Lted. have reportedly said that no serious work would be done until the details of their engagement were worked out and the contracts signed.
The Federal Government, last month, revoked the three-year-old concessionary agreement on the reconstruction of the road it awarded to Bi-Courtney Highway Services and consequently named Julius Berger Nigeria Plc and RCC Nigeria Limited as the two new firms to handle the project.
While Julius Berger was put in charge of section 1 of the road, covering Lagos to the Shagamu interchange, RCC will construct the section 2 stretching from Shagamu to Ibadan.
The 125 kilometre road was concessioned to Bi-Courtney in 2009. The company was expected to spend N89.53bn and recover same in 25 years under the Build, Operate and Transfer deal.
Our correspondent found that major work had not begun on the road and would not start this month because there had been no formal agreement between the parties on the cost and other modalities of the contracts.
The development was confirmed by a senior official in Julius Berger.
The official, who pleaded not to be named said, â€œWe are not doing any major work on that road.
â€œWhat we are asked to do is to make the road motorable for the holiday period so that Nigerians who will pass on that road will have a smooth journey.
â€œAs I speak to you now, no contract has been signed with us on that road. Maybe the contract will be awarded later in the year when the 2013 budget has been signed. I can tell you that Nigerians should not expect any major work on the road until the contract is signed. I cannot give you a definite date for the commencement of the project.â€
It was learnt that owing to the huge resources needed to execute the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway project, such huge contracts would be subjected to the approval of the Federal Executive Council.
This process, according to sources, is usually rigorous and takes a long period of time.
Section 15 (4) of the Public Procurement Act of 2007 stipulates the guidelines to be followed by the procurement committee in the award of contracts.
For instance, it said such contracts should be advertised; bids solicited, documented and examined; certificate of no objection to the proposed contract obtained from the Bureau of Public Procurement and submissions made to the Tendersâ€™ Board.
After these, the bid losers would be debriefed and complaints resolved before the awards of such contracts.
A top official in the Ministry of Works told our correspondent that all these process had not been concluded before the names of the new contractors were announced by the Federal Government last month.
The source said what the government did was just to mobilise the contractors to repair the worst portions of the road and make it motorable for the Christmas and New Year holidays.
The source, who pleaded not to be named as he was not officially permitted to speak on the issue, said it might take a while to conclude the details of the contract owing to the rigorous process involved in the procurement act.
â€œI donâ€™t think any major contract has been entered into because the contractors and the Federal Government are still meeting,â€ the source said.
It was gathered that the contractors had not worked out the costing and other details that would enhance the contract.
Investigations also revealed that the construction companies were insisting that the contracts must pass due process.
This, it was learnt, was to ensure that the project did not run into any hitch like the one that between the Federal Government and Bi-Courtney Highway Services.