The President of Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote, has lauded the decision of the Federal Government to reconstruct the failed Apapa-Wharf road.
With its grim state serving as an embarrassment to the country, there is also a huge loss of about N140 billion to the government on a weekly basis.
Dangote who spoke to select media men yesterday, said: “The economy loses more than N20 billion daily. It affects 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 roads 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 that uncompleted road Obasanjo started 13 years ago.‘’
Commenting on his resolve to be personally involved in the Apapa- Wharf road reconstruction, he said: “More than 60 per cent of our country’s import and exports come through the port and we leave it unattended. 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.”
To help in bringing the cost down, he explained that he forced his company to do it at a zero profit. According to him, “Both Dangote and Flour Mills are pumping in over N2.5 billion for the 2 kilometres double lane on each side making a total of 4 kilometres.”
He 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 a year ago and we are happy that we have been given the opportunity to finally fix it.”
The Federal Government last weekend handed over the troubled road to Dangote Industries Limited and Flour Mills of Nigeria Plc. (FMN) for immediate reconstruction with concrete overlay.
The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed by the FG, DIL, NPA and the FMN.
The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, signed the agreement for the handover of the road, on behalf of the Federal Government, while the Managing Director, NPA, Hadiza Usman, 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.
The construction work to be handled by AG Dangote, a civil construction company, and joint venture between Dangote Group and AG of Brazil, would utilise concrete slabs as against asphalt, common with road construction in this part of the world.
Managing director and chief executive of AG Dangote, Ashif Jumar in a chat with the media said: “We have already mobilised to site, but our major challenge is the chaotic Apapa traffic and the inclement rainy season. I appeal for patience and cooperation.”