by Razaq Ayinla
As part of measures to reduce the foreign exchange spent on importation of bitumen asphalt for roads construction Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun state has mulled possibility of engaging Dangote Group of Companies on concrete road construction, seeking to replicate tax credit initiative that Dangote Group apllies to Apapa-Oshodi expressway currently being constructed.
Recall that Dangote Group of Companies which has second largest cement plants in Ibese in Yewa North Local Government Area of Ogun state is converting taxes for which it supposed to remit to the Federal Government’s coffers, to construct several – kilometer concrete roads in Lagos state and other parts of the country with a view to fixing critical infrastructure like roads, rail, among others.
Speaking at the Correspondents’ Dialogue organised by Correspondents’ Chapel of Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), Ogun State Council on Monday, declared that some of the roads intended to be fixed include Papalanto/Sagamu Interchange road that links Lagos-Ibadan expressway, a road stretch which Dangote Cement trucks ply on daily basis though dilapidated and Ogun State Government is ready to engage Dangote Group to reconstruct on public-private partnership if Federal Government could cede the road to Ogun State.
Governor Abiodun, who spoke through his Special Adviser on Media and Public Communications, Remmy Hassan, noted that Ogun State Government is working towards securing Federal Government’s consent for rehabilitation, maintenance and tolling of reconstructed federal roads in Ogun state corridors through the Public-Private Partnership Arrangement earlier passed into Law by Ogun State House of Assembly.
The governor said that the engagement of Dangote Group of Companies becomes exigent and imperative in view of the fact that the company had demonstrated its dexterity at reconstructing roads by using concrete materials as undertaken in Ibese, Ogun State; Obajana in Kogi State and Apapa-Oshodi expressway in Lagos State.
He further explained that fixing the federal roads in Ogun State corridors under the PPP arrangement remains only panacea to fix some critical infrastructure, bearing in mind that construction cost of concrete roads is more than asphalt roads at the entry point and therefore Government at state level may not be able to afford such roads except there is a tax-credit initiative as being mulled by the State Government.
“We came up with an idea that will boost our infrastructural plan and majority of the roads that are critical to us are federally-owned. We are engaging the private investors because we don’t have the resources to put these roads in places and our people don’t care how you do it – whether you borrow or enter into partnership with private investors, they are careless. They just want to pass on roads that are motorable.
“Now, we are able to get private investors who are willing to put their money on these roads, but they want to toll them. However, they can’t toll those roads if they still remain property of the Federal Government. What we are doing as a State, is talking to the Federal Government to release those roads to us.
“We have created the Public Private Partnership office: we have established the Public Private Partnership laws which will ensure that private investors putting their money into these road projects recoup their capital. We just want the federal government to release those roads to us.
“But while that negotiations is ongoing, we have started works on the ones which we have control over. For example, the Ijebu – Ode/Epe highway: this is one of the roads that will decongest the Lagos – Ibadan expressway because whoever that that is travelling to Lagos Island either from the Northern or Eastern parts of the country do not need to connect the Lagos – Ibadan expressway any longer. But the investors would have to toll the road to enable them recoup their capital”.
RAZAQ AYINLA, Abeokuta