By Mashe Umaru Gwamna
The 56,683km Trans Africa highway roads network will boost the entire service of African economy through it connected routes.
Construction of road infrastructure is a great driver for the growth of the economy, boosting the supply value chain .
Research finding have shown that road transportation has a tremendous impact in economic development.
The road sector account for over 80%of transportation of good service from one part of a road to other.
Speaking at the 7th edition of the Africa Road Builders -Trophee Babacar Ndiaya inaugural conference 2022 in collaboration with federal ministry of Works and Housing, with the theme “Building Roads, Building Economies”, held in Abuja recently.
President Muhammadu Buhari said Nigerian government is rebuilding,expanding and replacing strategic highways and bridges across the country apart from trans Africa connected roads.
Buhari who was represented by Minister of Works and Housing Babatunde Fashola, stated this while accepting Africa Road Builders Award for the Hope, Prosperity and Progress of Nigeria.
He said that the latest GDP of 3.4 percent was the largest in the last seven years clearly shows that the construction subsector is related to the success of the economy and is among the great performers of it.
“So the foundational vision of African leaders is yielding positive results. Evidence of African reminiscence is showing in Nigeria.
“The Babacar Ndayei 2022 trophy in the seventh edition of Africa symbolizes this memory. This is the story of Africa where the long-awaited reminiscence begins to show in its largest country by GDP.
“It is a proud day for the African Union and its dream for the continent.
“ The policies and programs that are inaugurated over the years are beginning to bear fruit and results.”
According to him, infrastructure investment is good for the economy, when roads are good.
He said over 13,000Km roads and bridges construction, expansion and rehabilitation are visible nationwide.
The president emphasized that, highways roads have been a major boost for the growth of the economy.
“Keeping people at work; driving a supply value chain, stimulating productivity at Quarries, Cement Factories, Steel Factories, and the Petroleum sectors for lubricants, fuel and bitumen is necessary.
“The construction sub-sectors and related sub-sectors of the economy were among the big performers of the growth surge”.
He said the Trans African Highway programme, launched in 1971 sought to connect the whole of Africa through a major system of Nine (9) highways, the TAH1 to the TAH9 covering an aggregate distance of 56,683km.
“I also acknowledge the support of the Bank in financing Feasibilities, Consultancies and Pre-construction work on the Lagos-Abidjan Corridor comprising Nigeria, the Republic of Benin, Togo, Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire which is part of Trans African Highway No. 7 from Dakar in Senegal to Lagos in Nigeria.
“I am happy to report that the Nigerian sections of this highway is now under construction on the Lagos-Badagry corridor through our local financing institution such as the Tax Credit Scheme introduced by Executive Order No. 7; and in collaboration with the Lagos State Government.
“I am able to report that apart from Trans African Highway No. 7, Nigeria is also connected by Trans African Highways No. 2, Algiers to Lagos and Trans African Highway No. 8, Lagos – Mombasa.
“The East to West crossing of Nigeria across the Second River Niger Bridge which will be finished this year is a major investment by Nigeria on the Lagos-Mombasa Trans African Highway, as is the Enugu – Abakaliki to Mfum Highway.
“The 375Km Abuja to Kano that is now under construction is Nigeria’s major part of the Trans African Highway No. 2; Algiers to Lagos.
He maintained that, the Apapa-Oworonshoki Highway in Lagos is strategic for trade and business facilitation to support “our busiest and largest Sea Port in Apapa and Tin Can Island.”
“The Suleja-Minna Highway is critical to our petroleum distribution network and access to strategic petroleum products Depot in Niger State; and it is receiving attention, while the Calabar-Itu-Odukpani unlocks access to agricultural produce and supports mining and extractive activities for construction, in the South South and South East of Nigeria”,Buhari stated .
Earlier, in his introductory message General Commission Chief Executive of Officer ACTUROUTES , Barthelemy Kouame , said for nearly 10years, Nigeria has become African’s leading power and the country has remained on its throne .
“Nigeria has patiently built s roads, today the country has over 200,000km of roads of which more than 60,000km are paved.
“This makes Nigeria the country with densest road network in west African “.
He said work for road began intensely in the 1980s and 1990s and has intensively more in recent years.
“With the maintenance, modernization, development of the road network, under the presidentcy of Muhammadu Buhari winner of the Babacar Ndiaye Trophy in 2021.
“ Thanks to its highly developed roads, Nigeria has been able to stimulate the wealth that constitute its demographic weight. With the connection facilitated for its population( more than 200million inhabitants)”.
He emphasized that Nigeria has seen its gross domestic product (GDP) progress by at less2.7% to 555billion dollars in 2022.
“And maintains its position as the richest country in Africa.
“ Nigeria’s winning strategy has included creating a permanent synergy between the private sector and public administration to better manage roads.
“This takes the form, for example of a special commission dedicated to public private partnership(PPP), many of whose interaction concern roads and transport “,he said.
Similarly, The Group Managing Director/CEO NNPC Limited, Mele Kyari, said NNPC’s participation in the Road Infrastructure Tax Credit Scheme was to address the plight faced by petroleum product marketers in transportation.
“Under the scheme, NNPC is providing N621 billion for the rehabilitation of 1,804.6 Km of identified Federal roads. The roads, which are also critical to NNPC’s operations, are spread across 15 States in the country.
“We decide to collaborate with the federal ministry of works to tackle the problem.
According to him,the benefits of NNPC’s participation in the scheme include maintaining energy security through the efficient distribution of petroleum products throughout the country and also improving other economic activities that depend on road transport and social benefits. .
“ NNPC will continue to play its role as an enabler. In view of the importance of road infrastructure for economic growth and development.”
Also speaking,the Head, Special Projects & Acting Coordinator, (PPP Training Institute of ICRC), Dr. Amanze Okere, said the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC) Act is being amended by the National Assembly to implement improvements observed over the years.
He said for 2022, ICRC intends to gazette a pipeline of 52 eligible and bankable PPP projects, worth about U$22 billion by the beginning of Q2, 2022.
He added :”PPPs offer Nigeria a reliable and sustainable financing option, greater accountability, accelerated provision of infrastructure and faster implementation. of the proyects.”
Okere disclosed that Nigeria’s huge infrastructure deficit is an opportunity to partner with the private sector on win-win terms in virtually all areas of economic and social infrastructure.
“The preparation and development of the project is key and PPP also means preparation.”
The Managing Director /Chief Executive Officer, Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund (PIDF), Uche Orji, stated that the PIDF was established in 2018 to accelerate the execution of critical infrastructure projects, such as Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, Second Niger Bridge, and Abuja-Kaduna-Zaria-Kano Road.
It also included East-West Road Project (EWR) and Mambilla Hydro-Power project.
Orji said “The EWR project was removed from the PIDF Portfolio based on the request of the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs for its excision to enable MNDA undertake the EWR project as a public works contract.
“The fund is also expected to boost economic activity and stimulate an increase in investment, agriculture and trade between commercial cities due to improved and faster access to markets.
“Highways will significantly open up economic corridors that will lead to massive improvement in manufacturing, trade, and business activities driven by the movement of people, services, and raw materials.
Meanwhile, the Official Spokesperson of Acturoutes, and A Kenyan journalist
George Orido, while speaking on infrastructure and roads in Africa, said there had been a lot of improvement from the last time he visited Nigeria.
He said compared to10 years ago that he was in Nigeria, the road infrastructure he saw was delightful and he congratulated the president and Nigerians for the progress made over the years.
Peoples Daily reports that President Muhammadu Buhari won the Super Prize Great Builder Trophee 2021 and the Noble award for 2022 Trophee Babacar Ndiaya inaugural award go to TanzaniaPresident, Samia Suluhu Hassan .
The Babacr Ndiaye Trophee “The African Road Builders”is a series of two stakeholder conferences on roads, transport and mobility in Africa.