Dangote: FG Loses N10bn to Collapsed Apapa-Oshodi Road Daily
*Says reconstruction begins next week
The President of Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, on Tuesday in Abuja, disclosed that the federal government loses over N10 billion to Apapa Wharf gridlock every day.
Dangote made the disclosure while answering questions from State House correspondents at the end of a meeting between government officials and members of the private sector on the Apapa traffic gridlock, presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo in the Presidential Villa.
According to him, reconstruction of Apapa-Oworonshoki Expressway will begin next week as he proceeded to reel out the importance of the road.
He said: “Apapa-Oworoshoki Way (reconstruction) is going to start next week. Everything, including the design, has been handed over. We will start work next week
“The bidding process is going to go on where four, five contractors will bid. Anybody that wins the contract, we will fund the project under the agreement that we have.
“You have to understand that Apapa and Tin Can Island Ports handle about 80 percent of the cargoes that come into Nigeria.
“As we speak, some of our ships are waiting to come in from Lome and discharge. It is not because we don’t have anywhere to berth the ship but because all our operations are choked up because we have containers, general cargoes that have actually been there and we are not able to remove.
“But I am more worried about the smaller operators because, for those that have imported, the charges are accumulating every day. Transport charge has almost doubled,” he said.
He commended government’s decision to decongest Apapa port adding that the cost of reconstructing the road has not been determined.
Also speaking, Chairman of Nigerian Ports Authority, Hadiza Usman, attributed the problems militating against the port operations to the road challenge and highlighted how the road could be decongested.
“We have noted that there is a need to move empty containers out of that location. So we have received clear directives that all empty containers need to be taken to holding bay. Shipping companies cannot have port locations within the ports anymore, so that will free a lot of traffic within the area.
“We have also noted the need for all tank farms owners to comply with the utilisation of holding bays. No more approvals of tank farms will be permitted within the Apapa area any longer.
“There is also the full commitment of Dangote to complete the reconstruction of Apapa Wharf Road by June 2018, but palliative works will commence within the immediate period for Tin Can Island.
“There are decisive efforts by Vice President giving clear directives on the need for us to conclude on reconstruction, the trailer park on Tin Can Island will also be reconstructed within three months, so that we can have access to holding bays and trailer parks.
“The NPA is also licensing access to the trailer parks and port allocations, we are issuing advertisements seeking for expression of interests of some private sectors to operate some trailer parks and holding bays within the Tin Can Island area.
“We are embarking on that within the shortest period and we appeal to the exporters to work with us in traffic management, we are instituting strong task force that will manage the traffic inflow and outflow within the Apapa and Tin Can Island environs.
“This is an emergency for us and that is why we are here today to address these issues. We have seen the commitment from the Ministry of Works and the NPA will give support in any way we can.”
In his own comment, the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, said the meeting examined the problem and resolved to embark on some palliative measures on the road ahead of full repairs.
He said: “The conclusions are essentially to accelerate first palliative repair of the Tin Can bound section of the road with Liverpool Road, while the procurement being undertaken with the Dangote Group is finalised. Some relief will be provided pending when we finalise procurement.
“Also to improve traffic management there in consultation with NPA and to ensure that some of the persons posing as military task force there are disbanded because we have allegations of them collecting money to ferry trucks through to the gate and that is why the Minister of Defence is here.
“We also have private businessmen who have also offered to help fund some of the projects that are stuck in procurement like completing the Apapa Wharf terminal and complete some sections of the road. So we will conclude all of that in a holistic way subject to procurement board.
“Essentially is to show that we hear the discomfort of the people of Apapa, truck owners, exporters, importers. Work is going on in the first two-kilometre section, we will look at the roads leading out of Apapa Ijora, Costain to see that some repair works are also done.
“We don’t like the inconvenience, what it portends for the economy and for jobs and we will solve it.
“The relief is to first make other sections of the road motorable through Tin Can to give relief to municipal Apapa area while still working on procurement.”