The Minister of Works, Mr. Mike Onolememen, has said the country has received a World Bank commitment of $300m (about N47.1bn) for the rehabilitation of 441 kilometres and maintenance of 351 kilometres of roads.
In his keynote address at the national workshop on attitudinal change in management and financing of roads in Nigeria in Abuja on Monday, the minister said the World Bank would contribute 90 per cent of the funding, while the Federal Government would provide 10 per cent counterpart funding.
He said African Development Bank was also involved in three major projects along the Nigeria-Cameroon highway worth the $167m by putting in 89 per cent of the sum, while Nigeria would put in 11per cent.
According to him, for Nigeria to be among the first 20 economies in the world by year 2020, she would need to grow her existing road network from 194,000 kilometres to about 300,000 kilometres.
Onolememen said for this to be realised, huge investments were required by the three tiers of government and the private sector.
He said, “This kind of investment cannot be possible if there is no attitudinal change in policy formulation, financing and management of road infrastructure in our country.
“We need a shift in institutional structures that will lead to the creation of a national road fund and a federal roads authority by legislation; a shift in the funding mechanism of road projects, from public sector to private sector driven; and a shift from the present palliative regime in road development.”
He added, “Our country needs to make strategic investments in road infrastructure if the objective of the Transformation Agenda of the Federal Government to be among the top 20 economies of the world by the year 2020 is to be realised.
“We need to reclaim our national road network from its dilapidated state and once again elevate it to an enviable state, where it can help promote national economic growth and prosperity.”
Onolememen said a look at some statistics indicated that Nigeria had an uphill task ahead, when compared with figures from other countries like the United States, which had 6,506,204 km of road; India, 4,109,593 km; China, 3,806,800 km; and Brazil, 1,751,868 km.
The minister also said that three important roads, the Apakun (Oshodi)-Murtala Muhammad Airport road, Lagos; second Niger Bridge in Delta and Anambra states; and the Nupeko Bridge in Niger State, had been earmarked for concession through the Public-Private Partnership model.
The workshop was organised by the Senate Committee on Works to sensitise all the tiers of government on the need for an improved orientation in the development of road infrastructure.
The Chairman of the committee, Senator Ayogu Eze, noted that the nation would need to increase the funding of its road infrastructure if it intended to meet its developmental goals.