Nigeria highway concession, largest ever in Africa, says Fashola
The Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, has disclosed that the proposed highway concession would be the largest ever undertaken on the African continent, if successful. The initiative has the potential to create 5,000 direct jobs and 200,000 indirect jobs.
He stated this in a keynote speech at the Lagos Business School’s Evening with the Minister’s Series held last week.
Fashola also said that the concession of 12 highways spanning over 1,000 kilometers of the federal road network would also create an opportunity for investment growth. About 12 roads are for concession under the first phase of the Highway Development and Management Initiative (HDMI). The roads are Benin-Asaba, Abuja-Lokoja, Kaduna-Kano, Onitsha-Owerri-Aba, Shagamu-Benin, and Abuja-Keffi-Akwanga federal highways.
Others are Lokoja-Benin, Enugu-Port Harcourt, Ilorin-Jebba, Lagos-Ota-Abeokuta, Lagos-Badagry, and Kano-Shuari-PortisKum-Damaturu roads. While announcing its tolling policy approval recently, the government had explained that Nigerians would pay N200 or N500 at the toll stations, depending on the particular vehicle, once the exercise kicks off.
Fashola, who spoke on the need for more public/private sector dialogue and collaboration for Nigeria’s inclusive, sustainable economic growth and development emphasised that the federal government did not go to a foreign business school to launch the initiative; but preferred the Lagos Business School because there was a need for home-grown success.
“As far as providing information about development and growth goes, many of us regularly brief the public about projects, I go on many project inspection tours to highlight what The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) releases reports about the growth situations in the economy. What I have observed is that the negative results are readily acceptable and pleasing to some people, while they question the data when the same Bureau announces positive quarterly economic performances,” he said.
He explained that out of 75 applicants for the project, 18 have been prequalified, and will soon be requested to submit requests for proposals, adding that environmental and social impact studies are concurrently being undertaken while the national tolling policy has been approved to guide the development of business plans.
He noted that the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP), which was developed as a pathway to recovery from recession was underpinned by infrastructure investment as it committed to achieving a stable macro-economic environment, globally competitive economy and investing in Nigerians.
Fashola disclosed that over 13,000 km of roads and bridges are under construction or rehabilitation nationwide, like Bodo-Bonny Bridge, Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, Abuja-Kano expressway and second Niger Bridge now underway and heading towards completion before 2023, “a generation of Nigerians can now travel by rail in their own country.”