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KEYNOTE SPEECH AT THE WEBINAR FOR STAKEHOLDERS CONSULTATION ON HIGHWAY DEVELOPMENT MANAGEMENT INITIATIVE ON 25 JUNE 2020

KEYNOTE SPEECH AT THE WEBINAR FOR STAKEHOLDERS CONSULTATION ON HIGHWAY DEVELOPMENT MANAGEMENT INITIATIVE ON 25 JUNE 2020

I express sincere appreciation to all participants at this webinar convened by LBS in collaboration with ICRC at the instance of the Ministry of Works and Housing as part of the stakeholder’s consultation towards implementing a Highway Development and Management Initiative (HDMI).

President Muhammadu Buhari has left no one in doubt about his commitment to infrastructure, and the HDMI only seeks to give effect to the President’s commitment and the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP).

Let me express my delight in the fact that what will be presented to you today is totally home grown, developed within the Ministry, by our staff, young and old, and in collaboration with ICRC.

This is a totally made in Nigeria initiative in conception and execution thus far; although it is already exciting and eliciting interest beyond the shores of Nigeria.

In a nutshell, what the HDMI seeks to achieve is to bring multi-dimensional resources of skills, manpower, finance, technology and much more into the National Highway governance within Nigeria’s 35,000 km of federal highway.

Currently, many of what we seek to harness already exists; Tow trucks, advertising, rest places like Ore and Umunede which remain legendary in the minds of frequent road users. So too weigh bridges, toll plazas, eateries, road repair and maintenance to mention but a few.

What this initiative seeks to achieve is to bring order, accountability and profitable entrepreneurship to the operation, management and maintenance of our federal highways.

What we have done now is to identify 10 (TEN) highways representing about 2,225 km and 6.4% of our 35,000km Federal Highway Network as a pilot first phase of the HDMI.

On each road, we see opportunities for:

a) Erection of gantries and directional signage (all of which our ministry has designed, standardized and costed);

b) Toll plazas (already designed and standardized);

c) Weighbridges partly constructed, needing completion and a warehouse to operate it;

d) Street lighting and advertising opportunities

e) Rest areas, sites already identified, concept designs developed with facilities for catering, lodging, fueling, car repairs, spare parts sales opportunities;

f) Road repairs, maintenance, vegetation clearing and labour opportunities;

g) Towing vehicle operation for recovery of broken-down vehicles;

h) Lane marking with thermoplastic paints;

i) Waste management;

j) Right of way management for telecommunication assets.

k) Ambulance services with first Responders during emergencies.

These are some of the possibilities we foresee as we intend to optimize the operations of what currently exists.

We are currently also strengthening our internal processes to ensure that every highway is identifiable with one officer of our ministry under the Know Your Road and Own Your Networks, where the name of the officer will be published on our COHIMS software, which will be the updated real time database for the entire national road network.

Ladies and gentlemen, this is not an event, it is a vision of the tomorrow that we see, and this stakeholders consultation, like the one held last week with the Joint Committees of the Senate and House of Representatives on Works, are the first few steps on that journey.

But our research and studies suggest that on this journey, the first phase of 10 routes of 2,225 km can elicit an investment of over N160 billion, approximating to about N16bn per route and unleash opportunities for prosperity.

With this, we anticipate about 46,694 direct jobs spanning construction, Installation, fabrication, security, and waste management to mention a few.

The indirect job opportunities and spin-offs remain a matter of excitable and mouth-watering expectation.

Distinguished participants, since the consultation meeting with the National Assembly last week which was widely reported in the news, I have received several inquiries which is positive.

I have also started receiving written proposals in the office, which is not the way to go.

The way to go is for interested persons to form their consortium of construction/road maintenance companies, financiers, toll operators, rest house operators, advertising companies, lane marking experts, refuse managers and other partners and begin to tour, visit or inspect the route that interest them.

Very soon, in collaboration with ICRC, we will announce the bidding process in a transparent manner that allows the most effective bids to compete vigorously in a process that delivers service to Nigerians.

This is the way to go now. Start preparing, so that you will be ready to compete when the process opens. We will not countenance any bid or proposal sent to us that does not conform with the rules prescribed by ICRC.

Thank you all for listening and I encourage us all to participate actively in this webinar.

Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN
Honourable Minister of Works and Housing