The Buhari administration would ensure it completes the Second Niger Bridge project as it is not only important for the economy of the South East, but for the country’s economy, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has said.
Prof. Osinbajo stated this on Friday while fielding questions from journalists shortly after an inspection of the progress of work at the Asaba end of the Second Niger Bridge project.
A statement by the Vice President’s Spokesperson, Laolu Akande, said he noted that strategic infrastructure projects such as the bridge is critical to the administration’s economic agenda, as it would improve socio-economic opportunities and benefit all Nigerians.
On the ongoing construction of the Second Niger Bridge, Prof. Osinbajo expressed optimism that the project would be delivered on schedule, noting that President Muhammadu Buhari is personally committed to completing the project.
The Vice President said: “The Second Niger Bridge is so important for the economy of the South East and for the Nigerian economy, and of course it’s not just the bridge, there are also the access roads, which are also very important.
“It is obvious so much progress has been made here. It is an important project that the President is committed to complete. In the past 18 months or so, a lot of work has been done and I came to see for myself.
“As you can see, the foundation goes all the way down, and this is just the Asaba end of the bridge. There is also the Anambra end of the bridge, so it is a lot of work. There is a huge number of people who are also benefiting in various ways (as the project progresses).”
Speaking further, the Vice President noted that the commitment of the Buhari administration to complete strategic infrastructure projects to improve the nation’s economy necessitated the creation of the Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund (PIDF).
The PIDF is an initiative of the Buhari administration which is to be invested specifically in critical road and power projects across the country.
According to the Vice President, “there are some critical infrastructure that we consider very strategic to our economic plan and which, through this fund, we hope to complete. One of the reasons why projects are hardly ever completed was because we didn’t have money going into the projects. That is why the President has decided that we must have a fund for all of these projects, which is the PIDF, and we also have a smooth sailing process.”
He said further that projects being executed under the PIDF include the Kano-Abuja expressway, the Lagos-Ibadan expressway and the Mambila hydro project.
“The good thing is that the President has set aside the funds, the Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund, which is a fund dedicated to certain strategic projects including the Second Niger Bridge,” he added.
Earlier before embarking on the tour of the Second Niger Bridge project, the Vice President paid a courtesy call on the Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Alfred Achebe, at his palace in Onitsha.
In his remark, the Vice President assured the monarch of the Federal Government’s commitment to be fair and just in the execution of projects across the country.
He also noted that there are other initiatives being implemented by the Federal Government in Anambra State in partnership with the state government.
According to him, “Anambra State was the very first State to accept what we call the Homegrown School Feeding Programme, which is a Federal Government programme. Anambra State was the very first State to accept and implement it the way we wanted it to be implemented.”
While in Anambra State, the Vice President visited the Eke-Awka market in Awka, and the Ochanja market in Onitsha to monitor ongoing disbursement of the TraderMoni to over three thousand petty traders at the markets
So far, over 30,000 persons have been enumerated in Anambra State while about 26,000 loans have been disbursed and over 17,000 cashed out.
Almost two million petty traders nationwide are currently benefiting from the microcredit scheme.
The Buhari administration’s N10,000 TraderMoni loan is part of the National Social Intervention Programmes (N-SIP) and is designed to assist petty traders across the country expand their trade through the provision of collateral and interest-free loans from N10,000. The loans are repayable over a period of six months, after which the traders get an improved loan of N15,000. They get additional sums up to a N100,000 along the way as they repay the loans.