The Minister of Works, Mr. Mike Onolememen, stated this in Abuja on Friday after hours-long meeting with delegates from the consortium and various government agencies.
According to him, five construction firms took part in the bidding process, but Julius Berger AIMS Consortium won.
He said, 'We have gone through a painstaking procurement process that lasted for about 13 months and at the end of the procurement the preferred bidder has emerged. It is important to let Nigerians know that very competent consortia bid for this particular project.
'I am happy to announce that at the end of the procurement process, Julius Berger AIMS Consortium emerged as the preferred bidder for the Second Niger Bridge project.'
Onolememen said the project was advertised for expression of interest, adding that the concessionaires expressed interest in the bidding for the project under the Design, Finance, Build, Operate and Transfer model.
'And that is why this particular meeting was convened today to commence the second phase of this particular transaction that will necessarily lead to the preliminary site work of the bridge that will link Onitsha and Asaba in Anambra and Delta states,' he said.
Onolememen added, 'Going forward, part of the work that will be carried out in the next couple of weeks will include detailed hydrological and topographical surveys, and of course, a geological survey. And we will always carry out a detailed environmental/social impact assessment of the process and an in-depth traffic survey among others.'
He said the government's transaction adviser had virtually completed a detailed traffic survey, stressing that Nigerians should know that the Federal Government was committed to delivering the Second Niger Bridge project. 'I want to assure Nigerians that this project is fast becoming a reality,' he said.
Asked to comment on the duration of the project, he said, 'This is not a contract. It is a PPP transaction. The PPP transaction will cover a period of 25 years for them (Julius Berger AIMS Consortium). By the conclusion of the discussions on the second phase, at least the construction period will emerge. It is not like a normal contract that the government is funding.'
He explained that the consortium would raise the fund for the project and that the government would only take a very marginal percentage of it to show commitment.
He said, 'It is interesting to note that Africa Infrastructure Investment Managers or AIMS, are world leaders in infrastructure financing and they are in partnership with one of the biggest infrastructure financier in the world. And we are happy that this project has been able to attract such a group to this country.'