Daily Trust (Abuja)

21 April 2009

Nigeria: Suleja NIPOST Becomes Shopping Plaza

Abuja — The Nigeria Postal Service (NIPOST) has signed an agreement with a Kaduna-based properties developer, Calf Presentation Nig. Ltd. to rebuild the Suleja Post Office destroyed in 1993 as a plaza at a cost of N80 million.

The post office block was demolished by irate youths in a violent protest which flared up in the town following the enthronement of the present Emir, Alhaji Awwal Ibrahim.

During the handing over of the ruined site to the developer in Suleja last Thursday, the Post-Master General, represented by the Abuja Area Postal Manager, Aliyu Bashir Mahmoud, described the reconstruction of the structure into a shopping mall as NIPOST's new approach to the development of its properties for various other uses for the communities where such properties are located.

"The reconstruction of the destroyed post office block is based on a build-operate-and-transfer idea," Arc. Husaini Ladan, the managing director of the developing firm, told Daily Trust after the handing over of the premises to the firm, explaining, "This means after the reconstruction, I will operate it for 21 years, and then I will transfer its ownership to NIPOST. For the 21 years, it will remain the property of the company. We will operate it to regain our money, make our profit and also pay the loan we took from Finbank."

Arc. Husaini said the firm took a loan of N30 million from the bank and it will source the remaining N50 million from other financiers "so that the interest value will be low, which means we will not have to pay heavily to the bank. The bank's interest rate is 23 percent. You can see that we will only have to pay interest on just the N30 million we took from the bank so that we emerge from the deal not crushed by heavy interest."

The rebuilt structure will comprise a shopping mall, a bank, a restaurant, business and various other uses on a Public-Private Partnership with NIPOST which may continue to operate with such businesses.

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