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Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA), managers of the nation’s sovereign fund, told BusinessDay that it will release the fund for the construction of the second River Niger Bridge. This fund serves as part of NSIA equity stake in the construction of the bridge.
“We are about to pay Julius Berger for the early works of the bridge,” Managing Director NSIA, Uche Orji told BusinessDay.
NSIA has three funds that guide its investment activities; Nigeria Infrastructure Fund which it allocates 40 percent of its assets, Stabilization Fund (20 percent) and future generation fund (40 percent).
Ventures Africa, Fumnanya Agbugah gathered that the infrastructure fund which focuses on domestic investment in selected projects has been used to finance three commitments including the second River Niger Bridge, Nigeria Mortgage refinancing company and provide funds for agriculture finance.
The new dual carriage bridge which will cost N117.9 billion ($726.2 million) to build is an 11.90km length project. It is located 1.7km downstream of the existing bridge and consists of two equal end spans of 40m.
Earlier this year, Nigeria announced that with the support of the World Bank it would begin a construction of two by-passes to connect the bridge. The first would be a dual carriage from the Benin-Asaba Expressway bypassing Asaba and its airport to connect the bridge, while the second would link in from the Onitsha-Enugu Expressway to Onitsha Owerri Express-way, bypassing Onitsha.
The first Niger Bridge was commissioned in 1966 by Alhaji Tafawa Balewa, the prime minister of Nigeria then and has been a major gateway for trade flow between the Southeast and the rest of the country.
The bridge has been weakened largely by overloaded cargo trucks plying this route regularly as well as vandals who steal bolts and nuts used to construct the bridge.