The Regional Chief Executive Officer of Dangote Cement Plc, Arvin Pathak has disclosed that Nigeria is losing$1.5 billion (about N296 trillion) annually, due to poor condition of roads.
Pathak, an engineer, presented his paper during a session on ‘Transport System as a Backbone for the actualization of National Integrated Infrastructure Master Plan (NIIMP): Strategies for Implementation,’ held in Akure.
He gave a vivid picture of the state of Nigerian bituminous roads constructed few years ago as opposed to concrete roads in the USA and India which have been constructed over 80 years ago and still smooth.
He said roads play very important part in nation’s infrastructure development and well-designed concrete roads required little maintenance over 40 year design lives.
“Using concrete roads will result in less fuel consumption and less emissions. Small percentage reduction of life time energy use associated with road will have significantly positive implications on sustainable development. Concrete roads are durable and safe. Less prone to wear and tear and low maintenance requirements is one of the principal advantages of concrete roads.”
Urging for a new policy that will accommodate the use of concrete for roads in the light of the defects of bituminous road and its attendant strain on the nation’s lean economy, the Dangote Cement boss, said the country will free itself of frequent maintenance and overlay repeatedly increase cost and cause inconvenience to users.
According to him, government would find out that Concrete road is the way to go because of easy availability of indigenously produced cement, uncertainty about bitumen availability in future.
He added: “Present cement capacity in Nigeria is around 41 million ton per annum while the expected demand of cement is 20 million in 2015. The capacity of cement plants under construction is 8.5 million ton per annum. Also there is adequate quantity of cement of international quality is now available within the country.
“This is against the fact that bitumen is derived from petroleum crude and the world supply of crude is not inexhaustible. It may last for another 25 years or so, but prices will continue to increase beyond expectation. it is in the country’s interest to conserve petroleum products and to adopt more eco-friendly and cost effective technologies.”
Another Speaker, Engr. Ali Kashim explained that the intervention by Federal Road Maintenance Agency (FERMA) could not achieve the desired result because the roads that it was to maintain were already failed and needed reconstruction and not maintenance.
“Maintenance means working on a good infrastructure to make it remain in good condition and not working on roads that had already failed and needed total reconstruction”, he stated.
Earlier in his address during the opening ceremony, President Muhammadu Buhari who was represented by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir David Lawal, lauded the roles being played by the engineers and that his government would work closely with them and other professionals to achieve the desired change promised by his government.