Transportation Infrastructures impact on national economy; Lagos case study

We must travel the road together to a destination of common interest, so that as opportunity meets policy we are able to chart a mutually benefiting path…” Engr. Dr. kadiri Hamza

In providing the linkage between our national infrastructures and economic development, Dr. Kadiri has called on professionals rise up to the challenge of upping their contribution and investment in infrastructure in the country. In his word, “we must travel the road together to a destination of common interest, so that as opportunity meets policy we are able to chart a mutually benefitting path…” He noted that our nation cannot be truly developed without sustainable infrastructure and massive investment in the same and there are abundance opportunities for serious investors.

While focusing on transportation sector, he noted that there is direct relationship between transportation and economic growth of any nation. It is due to this proven reality that Lagos State government place emphasis on infrastructural (facility) development, particularly in road sector.  He observed that while most people consider this as a social decision rather that economic; the correlation between infrastructural growth and economic growth is too obvious to discerning eyes.

In explaining the significant and dimension to which investment in infrastructure can take place, the vastly experienced commissioner focused on fundamental changes that is guaranteed from infrastructural development. He listed, among others, Productivity and national output, reduced cost of production and competitiveness, labour pool, economic structure, Geographic impact, Trade Balance, safe lifestyle, and human capital development just as he took time to do justice to each of them.

In explaining the above the former Lagos Commissioner for Science and Technology, draws from many studies, and examples as well as use Lagos as case study.  He stated that in many studies about productivity and infrastructure investment, “highway construction is the second largest contributor to productivity after demand for goods and services…” it is for this reason the responsible government invest in the sector, especially transportation facilities with hope that it will support development, spur economic growth, alleviate existing deficiencies and to increase public convenience. This is the standard practice in developed nations as well as in BRIC countries.

He further established that the existence of an appropriate and high quality transportation system  and facilities is can reduce costs in almost all manufacturing industries and services industries as well.

Lagos, according to him, contributes 13.32% of the National GDP but accountable for 56% of non-oil GDP and provides dynamic leadership in term of policy orientation by adopting best practices in pursuit of the developmental objectives. However, despite the potential, there is a realization that estimated there is huge infrastructural deficit conservatively put at $50 billion. Of this amount, 40% ($20 Billion) is estimated as the cost of roads and drainages, while related transport activities cost $9.5 billion. This implies that the sector constitutes the single most dominant area of challenge faced by the state.

Lagos has tenaciously been pursuing a vision of building Africa’s Model megacity and Global economic and financial hub. Central to this vision is the development of infrastructural backbone that will enable its actualization. The policy trust adopted to bring the vision alive is encapsulated as “Poverty eradication and sustainable economic growth through infrastructural renewal and development.”

Since industrial revolution, transportation development seems to reflect the changes in human social development. Modes of transportation are really a reflection of changes taking place in the society. While it is imperative to state that transportation is not a single determinant of development, as no single fact is, it could be observed that lack of transport infrastructures constitute critical impediment to development. Inadequate transportation infrastructures do lead to higher transport costs, clogs and delays in supply chains. It is always safely concluded that transportation investment is a wealth producing investment.

Lagos state boosts of 16, 000km of roads (a combination of federal, state and local government roads.) It has the largest and most extensive road networks in West Africa. It is linked by many highways and bridges. Despite all these, Lagos is still challenged by quality of it roads infrastructures.

Between 1999 and 2012 (as at end of May), the Lagos administration had invested substantial resources on development of road infrastructures.  In the pursuit of the development of roads infrastructure the state has recorded significant boost in it economy well-being.

The administration identifies strategic roads to develop as a result of paucity of funds. The factor considered in selection of roads that receive attention are their strategic positioning, location, frequency and volume of traffic as well as their importance to the economic wellbeing of the areas they are located. this become imperative as there is limitation of resources to prosecute the entire road projects while other sectors also need attention.

Apart from the above, road development has played vital roles in stimulation of new towns and economic hubs in the state. This has led to freeing some congested areas; generates new and sustained jobs to professionals and artisans handling road projects, while property values have been noticeably appreciating along the areas with improved road infrastructure.  These had direct impact in the quality of life of the people, and the property owners. It is a major economic impact..

While the state recognizes that there is a lot works still to be done, it has put in place, plans for improvement and expansion of the existing infrastructures. Aside from roads, the state is investing in rail transportation, waterway among others… All in a bid to ensure that citizens feel the economic impact of these efforts.

He concluded that Roads and bridges are among the greatest public works projects that we can utilize to drive the economy. They allow us move our goods and services and connect people in very meaningful ways. They have produced significant outcome that enable us to think about tomorrow in a very positive way. He prays that this will be replicated by other states across the country. Lagos, according to him has a culture of investing in infrastructure and will continue to improve upon this in coming years.

by Isqil Najim

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