Nigeria mulls $35bn concrete road construction programme

Broad highway and streets in Yaba Ikeja, Lagos, Nigeria Broad highway and streets in Yaba Ikeja, Lagos, Nigeria (Image: Markus via AdobeStock -

Ministers within Nigeria’s government have discussed how to get a nationwide concrete road building programme off the ground, at an initial cost of $35 billion.

Nigeria’s minister of works David Umahi and its minister of steel development Shuaib Audu met to discuss ways to revitalize the Ajaokuta Steel Plant, Nigeria’s largest steel mill.

The mill, construction of which started in 1979, remains incomplete 40 years on, with three quarters of the complex reportedly abandoned and only light mills currently in operation for small-scale fabrication.

Meeting in Abuja, the ministers said the steel mill could play a major role in President Bola Tinubu’s plan for a ‘revolution’ in Nigeria’s roads infrastructure. President Tinubu won Nigeria’s general election earlier this year.

Following the meeting, Umahi said Nigeria would go into concrete road construction to reactivate the Ajaokuta steel mill, with steel making up 16% of the materials used in construction of the roads (with cement at around 30%).

He added, “We need about $35 billion to start. If we start waiting for the federal government, it might become difficult. We did return on investment (ROI), the profit we could have made, part of it will go to bank interest, we are looking at commercial bank, but the Federal Executive Council has to endorse it. If this could be done, it means Mr. President is actually living to his words, and this is going to be possible.”

Audu said, “We are seriously thinking outside the box to see how we can implement the Renewed Hope Agenda of Mr. President. What we came to discuss here is how to restart Steel production at Ajaokuta steel plant. The Hon. Minister of Works has made it very clear that the federal government is looking to develop over 30,000km of road and a large component of that will be from steel wrought, and percentage of that steel wrought will be produced in Ajaokuta. We came to have a discussion on how to implement the process for producing it in Ajaokuta within the shortest possible time”.


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