Recession stalls FG’s World Trade Centre

Independence House/ former Defense headquarters in Lagos

Independence House/ former Defense headquarters in Lagos

Grand plan for the reconstruction of the former Independence House/ Defense headquarters in Lagos into a state of the art World Trade Centre may have suffered a setback due to the scourge of economic recession in the country.

The project, which held promise only few months ago to be formally handed over to a chosen investor by October 1 at the latest to transform the now badly dilapidated structure has been forced to take a back seat due to lack of funds, according to senior government officials.

The Guardian gathered that the federal government has stated that the project would have to wait contrary to the expectations of the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment and the Tafawa Balewa Square Management Board, the agency in charge of the project.

Reliable sources informed The Guardian that the funds which ought to have been released for the publication of invitation to the public to expression of interest in investing in the project is being delayed as government can only commit funds to areas of the economy considered more pressing at the moment.

However, strong assurances have recently been given by the Finance Ministry that the project will be included in the next batch of projects’ funding before the end of the year.

“The Minister for Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr. Okey Enelamah, has been complaining about the delay. So now, they have assured us that the next stage for the release of funds, the Independence House project will be included. Hopefully before the end of the year an investor will emerge and the project will take off,” said the source.

Earlier, the Infrastructure Bank, which is acting in the capacity of the Transaction Advisers, has packaged a feasibility studies on the viability of the project. It was submitted to the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC) in Abuja sometime in August.

The Infrastructure Bank emerged as Transaction Advisers to the project in 2013 through a bidding process was organised by the TBS Management Board at the behest of the ICRC.

In 2014, it signed an agreement with the Ministry for the sum of N150,364,000 to be paid but at the end of the transaction. The money would be sourced from the payment of entry fee that the selected investor will make to the federal government before commencement of work on the site.

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