Environment

Toll Gates Return to South-East Highways

Federal toll gates are to return soon to two South-East highways as government hands over 12 highways to private investors.

Federal officials listed the two affected highways in the South East as both the Onitsha-Owerri-Aba and Enugu-Port Harcourt Expressways.

The deplorable Enugu-Onitsha Expressway is omitted under the plan, according to information obtained from Infrastructure Concession and Regulatory Commission (ICRC).

The private investors will takeover, rebuild and maintain the selected dozen roads and recoup their investments through the toll gates.

Other federal roads targeted for concession include Benin-Asaba, Abuja-Lokoja, Kano-Katsina, Shagamu-Benin, Abuja-Keffi-Akwanga, Kano-Shuari, Potiskum-Damaturu, Lokoja-Benin, Ilorin-Jebba, Lagos-Ota-Abeokuta, and Lagos-Badagry-Seme highways.

The Ministry of Works and Housing is promoting this novel idea which it calls Highway Development and Management Initiative (HDMI).

Officials confirm that the process for selecting investors to take over rebuilding and maintenance of the 12 highways has begun.

The investors are expected to sink in at least N1.134 trillion to the projects, Minister Raji Fashola said

Each road comes with “directional signages, well-equipped rest areas, round-the-clock security patrol, and ambulances for emergencies,” he said.

He praised HDMI as a home-grown effort to develop roads through investments that improve operation, management, and maintenance of highway assets.

“It delivers safer, enjoyable travel experience for road users as travel time is shortened, cost reduced and commercial activities stimulated.”

HDMI, according to him, complements President Buhari’s other infrastructure development initiatives which he listed as

  • Road Infrastructure Development and Refurbishment Investment Tax Credit Scheme Order of 2018 ,
  • Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund (PIDF) being managed by the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) and
  • The SUKUK Fund.

These President’s initiatives, he said, rely on private sector funding and participation to develop critical infrastructure across the country.

Fashola said HDMI will not only develop Nigeria’s network of roads corridors but will also boost economic development along federal highways.

“Apart from infrastructure and assets development, thousands of jobs will be created for Nigerians as the initiative will open up the highway economy with opportunities in various economic activities including fabrication of gantries and directional signages with advertising opportunities, towing van operations and auto repair stations, operation of rest areas and emergency services, among others.”

Permanent Secretary, Babangida Hussaini, said the initiative brings “order, efficiency, (and) accountability” to the management and maintenance” of highway assets.