Lagos — Maritime analysts have warned against the neglect of the roads saying that the economy will suffer if urgent steps were not taken to address the current roads deficit in the Nigeria.
They opined that the need to construct more link roads and rehabilitate existing major high ways across the nation cannot be overemphasized as the current state of federal roads can be considered as death traps adding that this has not only led to the death of many Nigerians, it has also caused damages to goods and vehicles whose value cannot be estimated.
Speaking on the state of the roads and its importance to economic development, the Chairman of the Port Consultative Council, PCC, Otunba Kunle Folarin, said that the roads are linkages between the point of production and point of distribution of goods and services.
Folarin said that if there is production without quality roads to distribute the goods, then it means that production value has reduced.
He explained that if the produced goods do not get to the end users, there will be economic distortion adding that if the roads are not improved, it will slow the time of distribution.
Explaining further, Folarin said that if the roads are not improved upon, it increase the cost of production.
He was of the opinion that government cannot build infrastructure like roads and suggested that this part of the nation’s economic life should handed over to the private sector to run.
He said: “The roads are linkages between the point of production and point of distribution and if there production and there is no distribution or you cannot get to the point of distribution, it means that production value has reduced.
“If the production does not get to end users, it means that economic disruption will happen.
“So there is the linkage between point of production and point of distribution and the place of the end users is the road.
“The second solution is the government to recognize the vital value of road as a linkage to economic distribution.
“If that value is recognized by government, then they will give attention either in the budgetary allocation or in the actual execution of road projects.
“Finally you must recognize that all the roads and inter modal linkages in Nigeria some 50, 60 years ago as conceived by the colonial maters were based on economics.
“The Port Harcourt port was built because of the coal coming from Udi in Enugu and the government built the railway from Enugu to Port Harcourt for evacuation of produce, evacuation of materials for exports and therefore bringing about the much needed foreign exchange for Nigeria to develop you can see the multiple use of rail.”
“Then the rail from Uguru to Ijeun and to all the places in the North were for economic links, they were not for social links, passenger traffic was just an addition.”
The PCC boss was, however, against the creation of a Federal Road Authority for the construction and maintenance of roads in the country saying that it was not necessary.
Similarly, a former Presidential aide to former President Goodluck Jonathan on Maritime matters, Mr. Leke Oyewole said that the roads and the economy cannot be separated because one is linked to the other.
Oyewole also said that moving goods from one point to another on a very bad road will not only constitute economic menace to the owners of the vehicle, it will also impede on the time goods get to the end users just as the quality of the goods would have been affected because of the time they spend on the roads.
“The Apapa gridlock is an example, the time people take to get to work is such that a lot of man hours are lost to the traffic and lives have also been lost to the traffic,” he stated
In 2017, a World Bank report on a $300 million loan to Nigeria for roads showed that about 15 per cent of federal roads were in good condition, down from 50 per cent in 1999.