More details have emerged on why leading African industrialist and President of Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote agreed with the federal government to reconstruct the Apapa to Oworonshoki Expressway in Lagos using concrete and not asphalt.
A top official of the company who spoke on phone with our correspondent on Sunday revealed that “I think it is the same spirit or patriotism which had earlier attracted him to key into the Apapa Wharf road reconstruction in June this year that equally spurred him to the other side of the Lagos Port access road which is Apapa to toll gate”.
“He is not even looking at the tax holiday, but the resultant multiplier effects when the road is completed,” the official who pleaded anonymity averred.
Business Hilights recalls that in June this year, Dangote had made a revelation that “The economy loses more than N20 billion daily and it affects all businesses across the country. All our operations in the hinterland in Ilorin, in Kano are operating at 40 per cent maximum capacity”
“Today there is no linkage road going from South West to the North. You have to go all the way through Ajaokuta, Obajana, lokoja and you have to go by the uncompleted road Obasanjo started 13 years ago.”
Commenting on his resolve to personally get involved in the Apapa Wharf road reconstruction then, he said “Because it is very embarrassing! We can’t just sit and have a road like that in the heart of trade in Nigeria. More than 60 per cent of our country’s import and exports come through the port and we leave it un-attended. That is why we started on our own. Flour mills said they will join us, but now government changed the design because they want all the cables and pipes underground and to have a more robust and sustainable solution to this problem.”
Explaining more on the use of concrete, the official, a senior engineer said “Globally, roads known for articulated vehicles and heavy-duty traffic are better built on concrete because of its durability and flexible maintenance cost. We have done it in Obajana and so, it’s not going to be a hard job for us. Besides, it does not take time like asphalting”.
Giving further insights on the new model of financing, Fashola, noted that to encourage the Dangote Group to embark on the project which the government is still waiting for its designs, the government has approved an upward review of a tax incentive to the group to 10 years.
According to him, “We have also just concluded and signed an agreement with NLNG to construct the Bodo – Bonny Bridge at the cost of N120.6 Billion with NLNG and Federal Government sharing the cost 50-50. The contracts were signed on Wednesday, 13thSeptember 2017”.
“We inherited a tax incentive policy for individuals to benefit from tax remission, to recover investment made in public infrastructure like roads, which other members of the public can utilise.
“This government has thought it fit to review the five-year limit on that tax order to a ten-year period to sustain private investment in road infrastructure, because it is a long-term asset,” he added.
“As for the agreement with Dangote, we are now awaiting the design of the 35km stretch excluding the portion that has been completed, about 7km, by the previous administration around Mile 2 area. From the design, we will determine the cost and the scope of works which we hope can be executed quickly. As this government promised, we will solve the Apapa and Port congestion problem.”