The Chairman Governing Board of the Federal Road Maintenance Agency (FERMA), Mr. Tunde Lemo, on Tuesday said that Nigeria loses about N1 trillion annually due to loss in man-hour as a result of bad roads and traffic delay.
Lemo disclosed this at an end of the year stakeholders’ meeting at the International Conference Centre in Abuja with the theme “Road Maintenance and Reforms: Legal and Institutional Framework.
He said the numbers are staggering and called for emergency action in the road sector.
According to him if the budget cannot achieve this because of other conflicting needs, it is imperative that the development and management of the road sector must be funded from alternative sources.
He said, “It is becoming clearer that legislation of a more enabling environment is required for an effective and productive management of the road for meaningful national socio-economic growth.
“It is a well-known fact that 80 per cent of travels in Nigeria are carried out on the roads including heavy duty. You then understand why the roads go bad now and again. In other climes the rail shoulders the bulk of it. 90 percent of these are done on Federal roads, thus the Federal roads constitute the spine of the Nigerian road network to effectively evaluate the productive management of the Nigerian road therefore, one needs to evaluate the effective management of the Federal roads. With only about 10, 000 km of Federal roads in good state, and about 13, 300 and 11, 600 in fair and bad states respectively.
“In any square kilometre area in Nigeria only 210 metres of roads are available for travel, irrespective of the conditions of the road. For smooth comfortable and timely travels however, the density falls to 0.01 km per square kilometre meaning only 10 meters of travel in every one-kilometer area. Clearly this is unacceptable and needs to change. Funding for Nigerian roads is less than one per cent of the GDP, against three per cent GDP minimum spending threshold. The World Bank recommends minimum threshold of three per cent. In Nigeria we barely achieve a third of that,” he said.
He said effective roads can be guaranteed through a careful blend of many factors which include requisite capacity, capabilities, governance, accountability and controlled political influences as well as sound fiscal and funding policies.
These factors are critical to the optimal management of national road network for most effective impact on social economic growth, he said.
“It is the responsibility of road agencies to develop operational procedures of monitoring national road networks for needful interventions as at when due. Such road agencies retain the mandate to create and manage requisite administrative, operational and financial structures of the effective discharge of these activities.
“An effective road management practice is that which executes most productively, these activities within the constraints of the society of which it operates. Whereas the more advanced economies have developed reliable methodologies for constructing, monitoring and intervening on their road networks for optimal serviceability, the developing economies of the world, on the other hand, struggle to achieve these for a number of reasons. It is in this context that this stakeholders’ forum is convened in a bid to collectively reflect on Nigeria’s position vis-à-vis FERMA’s productivity, possibilities and promises,” he said.