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Dangote reveals how Nigeria loses over N140 bn weekly to Apapa gridlocks
Joint financier of the reconstruction of the Apapa-Wharf road and President of Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote has lauded the decision of the Federal Government to involve stakeholders in the planned redevelopment of the failed highway to the nation’s gateway and flagship seaport, Apapa.
He observed that the poor state of the Apapa Wharf road serves as both an embarrassment to the country and a huge financial loss to the government on a weekly basis.
Dangote who spoke on Tuesday said “The economy loses more than 20 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”
Lamenting the state of road infrastructure in the country, Dangote said: “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 13years ago.”
On his resolve to personally get involved in the Apapa Wharf road reconstruction, he noted that “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 solution.”
He said he is personally involved in the Apapa Wharf road reconstruction, 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 cannot leave it un-attended. That is why we are invested in this project. The government also changed the design because they want all the cables and pipes underground and to have a more robust and sustainable solution to this problem.”
However, to help in bringing the cost down, he explained that he forced his company to do it at zero profit. According to him, “We will be spending 2.5billion and also Flour Mills for reconstructing 2km double lane in Apapa on each side making a total of 4km” He further explained that “the biggest job is drainage because that is what is destroying the road. We will make sure this problem is sorted out once and for all. This thing should not be allowed to happen. We started discussion with the government over one year and we are happy that we have been given the opportunity to finally fix it.”
Business Hilights recalls that the government last weekend handed over the troubled road to Dangote Industries Limited and Flour Mills of Nigeria (FMN) for immediate reconstruction with concrete overlay.
The memorandum of understanding (MOU) on the construction of the road was signed by the FG, DIL, NPA and the FMN.
Babatunde Fashola, minister of power, works and housing, signed the agreement for the handover of the road, on behalf of the Federal Government, while Hadiza Usman, managing director, NPA, and Joseph Makoju, honorary advisor to Aliko Dangote, president, Dangote Group, and Gbedebo, signed for their respective organisations. The three organisations are embarking on the project as part of their corporate social responsibility (CSR) to Apapa, where they all do business.