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25 years idle Independence Building in Lagos’ll go for 20 years—ICRC

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Considering the emerging change of economic development tactics by the President Muhammadu Buhari-led second term, attention will henceforth move from government powered economy to private sector-led.
Key in the implementation of the new economic policy will be the concessioning of several idle government entities and assets going forward.
Already, the federal government has disclosed that the concession of the abandoned Independence Building currently managed by the Tafawa Balewa Square Management Board (TBSMB), Lagos, is now in its final stage.
Director General, Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC), Mr. Chidi Izuwah, who was on facility tour of the property last week in Lagos, averred that the move was in line the federal government’s drive towards creating a private sector led development economy.
Business Hilights recalls that the building is 25-storey structure situated in the Lagos Central Business District and occupies a land area of 8,100 square meters, with a large separate parking provision of 2,650 square meters and has been idle for 25 years.
Izuwah made it clear that “This independence building is a national asset that was built in 1961, and the ICRC has a mandate for pre-contract and post contract compliance monitoring and this building has not been yielding an economic value to the government and it is in strategic place, in the centre of Lagos.
“The intention of government is to concession this asset for it to become the national trade and international business centre that would drive value to Nigeria.
“So we are here to understand the challenges of the transaction and what would be the regulatory requirements to reap its full potential.”
Continuing, ICRC boss explained that “The idea is to make sure that everything that belongs to Nigerians, held in trust is put into the best use through partnering with the private sector because the president believes in a private sector-led economic growth.
“We are not doing this with government funding so we are going to select a competent private partner who has the technical and financial capacity.”
He said since the announcement to bid was made last year, three contractors have been selected and they are in final stage of selection, revealing that once approved, the firm would manage the facility over a minimum of 20 years.
“In terms of the concession of this type of structure and the amount of money involved, we would be looking at a minimum of 20-year concession for the private investor to make their money and also, the government would be making revenue from concession fees instead of it lying idle.”
Though he was economical with words on the face value or government preferred price for the property, some real estate consultants who bared their minds said any plan to concession the property for anything less than N20bn for a 20 year management span is a disservice to the nation.

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