Kwara Govt Approves Hotel Remodeling Contract To Two Companies

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The recent announcement by Kwara State Government to Award Remodelling and Rehabilitation of Kwara Hotels Limited to Craneburg Construction Company has come as a huge shock to well-meaning Kwarans who have been following the sequence of events since 2020 when the Kwara State Government disclosed its plans to reposition the hotel to a world-class standard.

Not only did Harmony Holdings Limited publish an invitation for the expression of interest to fix and operate the 172-room Kwara Hotels facility in The Herald newspaper on 18th October 2020 but it also announced the appointment of a preferred bidder, Crystal Group of Companies, in July 2021. In a letter dated June 2, 2022, retrieved from Page 2 of the National Pilot Newspaper of 19th December 2023, Harmony Holdings Limited clearly stated that the Kwara State Executive Council had approved the concession of Kwara Hotels to Crystal Group of Companies on a Fix and Operate basis.

The Terms of Engagement cited by this medium included the commitment of the sum of N3 billion by Crystal Group of Companies for the renovation and management of the hotel; the payment of concession fees for the 1st five years, and revenue profit sharing for the subsequent years. In addition, the award letter stated that “Harmony Holdings Ltd shall pass an unencumbered property to Crystal Group of Companies, particularly regarding outstanding liabilities to the tune of N359,880,782.68 million”.

Considering that the approval of the State Executive Council was expressly transmitted to the Kwara State House of Assembly for its resolution on the concession of Kwara Hotels Limited to Crystal Group of Companies, it is quite surprising that the same contract has been awarded to Craneburg Construction Company. To further worsen the situation, the Kwara Hotels project which had hitherto been valued at N3 billion by Crystal Group of Companies, will now gulp a whooping N17.8 billion. How Craneburg arrived at that outrageous sum remains a mystery that Kwarans must unravel because going by the current inflation rate, a newly constructed 250-room hotel of 5-star standard costs less than 5 billion.

Craneburg, a Lebanese Construction company has suddenly become the preferred ‘bride’ of the Kwara State Government. Not only has the company been awarded a N17.8 billion contract to renovate the 172-room Kwara Hotel facility on a contract financing basis but it has also been awarded several other contracts across the state, worth billions of naira.

As it stands, there are two Executive approvals for the renovation and remodelling of the Kwara Hotel facility. This has raised concerns about the true intention of the state government towards the hotel which was once the pride of Kwara. Since its establishment by Brigadier-General David Bamigboye in 1975 up till 2019, the hotel has prided itself as the preferred relaxation spot by both local and international tourists due to its top-notch hospitality services. From the exquisite room decor to the tasty meals and the serene atmosphere of the lounge and the Ariya Garden coupled with the spacious parking lot, conference rooms and well-equipped gym, amongst others, Kwara Hotels is indeed a legacy project that must not be allowed to die.

The future of the hotel will be determined by how well the Kwara State Government handles the confusion it has created through the Award of the remodelling contract to Craneburg without revoking its earlier Award to Crystal Group of Companies owned by a real estate and hospitality business tycoon, Mashood Mustapha.

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