The Human and environmental Development Agenda (HEDA Resource Center), has written to the Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, requesting for an updated information on the state government’s actions towards the acquisition of the Lekki-Epe express way from Lekki–Epe Concession company (LCC).
In the letter, dated February 23 and signed by HEDA’s Chairman, Olanrewaju Suraju, the Resource Centre said the tax payers of Lagos State deserve more than passing toll increment and Public-Private-Partnership shrouded in secrecy, opacity and conjectures.
HEDA, a non-governmental advancing human rights and environmental protection in public policy and programmes, said Lagos residents deserve to know why there has been delay in the acquisition of the Lekki-Epe road and what are the contractual terms and agreement entered into by the Lagos State and the Lekki-Epe concession company.
The letter reads: “On August 19, 2013, the former Executive Governor of Lagos State Government, Mr. Babatunde Fashola wrote a letter of proposal to the Lagos State House of Assembly, through the Speaker requesting additional fund to buy-back the interest of LCC in the Lekki-Epe road. Paragraph 3 of the letter says, ”the proposal for further amendment was predicated on the need to fund the acquisition of existing concession rights and toll revenue benefits held by the Lekki concession company (LCC).
“This will effectively accelerate the transfer of ownership of the road to the state, leaving the state with wider policy options with regards to that important road infrastructurein order to address this issues, we have proposed two- prong approach, namely re-ordering some expenditure provisions and also direct supplementation of the year 2013 Budget. These will entail an increase in the overall budget size by N7.5 billion. This is against a background of a projected shortfall of N22.5 billion in budgeted internally generated revenues (IGR) which now needs to becovered by additional borrowings.”
HEDA stated further that: “Sometimes later, at a special plenary section, the House of Assembly approved N7.5 billion supplementary budget to accelerate the transfer of ownership of the road to the state, really leaving the state with a wider option.
“One of the leading reasons as claimed by Lagos State Government for deciding to buy out the private parties in the concession include the request by the Lekki-Epe concession company (LCC) to raise the tolling rate on the first toll plaza by 20 per cent from minimum of N120 to N166 for a car and the insistence that toll must be commenced at the second toll plaza which is about 10km from the first to be able to raise fund for further construction, despite public opposition and protest against the planned increment.
“It is quite unfortunate that the Lagos State Government has not been forthcoming in providing clear and detailed information about the project since inception and on latest decision to increase toll on the road. It therefore leaves the public with conjectures and rumours of misappropriation of the approved extra-budget for the proposed buy-back. There exists no official information on the Lekki-Epe concession project in public domain. Both the Lagos State Government and the LCC have refused to make available such information.”
The centre stressed that, “Therefore, we are requesting for an update on the Lekki-Epe concession project. Why has there been delay in the acquisition of the Lekki-Epe road and what are the contractual terms and agreement entered into by the Lagos State and the Lekki-Epe concession company?
“The tax payers of Lagos State deserve more than passing toll increment and Public-Private-Partnership shrouded in secrecy, opacity and conjectures,” HEDA said.
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