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‘Productivity drops as traffic congestion costs Lagosians N4 trillion yearly’

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Traffic in the city of Lagos. PHOTO: FEMI ADEBESIN-KUTI

Citing the economic implications of daily traffic congestion in the state, Danne Institute for Research, a Lagos-based research institute, has said in its Connectivity and Productivity Report that Lagos State loses about N4 trillion yearly as a result of its notorious traffic congestion problem.
   
According to the Institute at its virtual Transport and Traffic Conference, the loss is the economic cost of the of estimated 14.12 million hours lost by Lagosians while commuting to work every day.
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The findings reinforce concerns by members of the Organised Private Sector (OPS) on the ease of doing business in the State, especially as it relates to the daily movement of goods and people.
   
While presenting the findings of their research at a public-private sector dialogue, the Founder and Executive Director of the Institute, Professor Franca Ovadje, explained that long commutes between where Lagosians live and work, among other factors, are a major cause of unending traffic jams, adding that it was unfortunate that the growth of Lagos megacity is not leading to increasing in productivity due to the state’s connectivity issues.  
 
She said: “We found that the cost to individuals of traffic congestion is N133,978.68 per annum for those who own their vehicles and N79,039.40 each year for those who use public transport. The total loss to Lagos is estimated at 14.12million hours per day or N3,834,340,158,870 per annum.”
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Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who was represented by the Commissioner for Transport, Dr. Frederic Oladeinde, said Lagos was adopting a multi-pronged approach, as the government is convinced that the state cannot spend its way out of congestion.
 
He explained that the strategy of the government is to modernise and maximise existing transport networks and implement the Lagos Transport Masterplan that proposes investment in a multimodal transport system like waterways and seven rail lines, and the development of the millionaire cities so that residents won’t have to go the island to get well-paying jobs or do business.
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The President, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mrs. Toki Mabogunje, explained that Lagos is struggling to play a catch-up game because growth has outpaced planning for decades, and suggested the State agrees on an operational framework with the Federal Government such that some federal assets, such as roads and ports that can be controlled and managed by the state to reduce congestion.
 
President, Chartered Institute of Personnel Management, Wale Adediran, alerted the public on the physical, mental and emotional effects of traffic congestion on the state working population and emphasized that law and order are at the heart of solutions to Lagos traffic problems.
 
Co-founder of BudgIT, Joseph Agunbiade, was of the opinion that the government should prioritize data, innovation and disruption along with attracting massive private investment to close the transport infrastructure deficit.

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