Lafarge Africa looks to scale-up Nigeria's road infrastructure

Lafarge Africa looks to scale-up Nigeria's road infrastructure
14 October 2020

LafargeHolcim Africa hosted a webinar on approaches to rapidly upscaling Nigeria's Economic Infrastructure, yesterday. Nigeria’s Honourable Minister of Works & Housing Guest of honour, Babatunde Fashola, led the discussions emphasising that the government is committed to renew, review and increase Nigeria’s infrastructure.

Babatunde Fashola argued that Nigeria stopped investing in infrastructure in the 1970s and that it must get back to investing something similar today by investing a sizeable part of its GDP on roads, bridges and transport. Private Public Partnerships (PPPs) form part if the government's financing and development plan as well as tax credit schemes. 

Politicians remain haunted by the first PPP project in the country, the Lekki-Epe Expressway, which had a 49.4km coastal road enlargement started in 2008 but it still hasn't been completed.

Miljan Gutovic, Head MEA LafargeHolcim, explained that more than US$100bn was spent on PPP in developing countries in 2019. He added that approximately 40 per cent of these projects are for roads which are what Nigeria desperately needs, so there are plenty of examples. Lafargeholcim also has the experience from working on PPPs in mature markets such as in Canada, UK and Australia can be brought to Nigeria. He advised that Nigeria should invest in concrete roads as they have higher life expectancy, require less maintenance and can deal better with the extremes of climate change than asphalt roads, which LafargeHolcim also supplies. The rainy season in Nigeria means that concrete would be the more durable choice.  

Mobolaji Balogun, CEO Chapelhill Denham, stressed that only about two per cent of Nigeria's GDP is effectively spent on infrastructure development and that private capital must be attracted and that Nigeria must use capital markets to fund projects as has been seen with China's use of listings in Hong Kong and Singapore.

Economist Bismarck J Rewane, CEO Financial Derivatives added that the country should be spending US$15-20bn annually to keep pace with its growing infrastructure needs.

Other participants at the online event included Khaled El Dokani, CEO Lafarge Africa; Adebode Adefioye, Chairman Lafarge Africa Plc; Alhaji Lamis Dikko, Chairman The Infrastructure Bank Plc and moderator Frank Aigbogun Publisher & Co-Founder Business Day Newspaper.

Published under Cement News