Construction Of Coastal Routes Can Strengthen Naira – Umahi

The Federal Government has hinted that the construction of coastal routes in Nigeria has the potential to attract foreign investment and contribute to a stronger naira.

The Minister of Works, Sen. Dave Umahi, gave the hint at the unveiling of the new design routes for the Lagos-Calabar Coastal Highway project on Wednesday in Lagos. According to Umahi, the government’s plan to improve infrastructure is ultimately to aim for an economic revolution in Nigeria.

He said, “We talked about our economy, that it needs foreign investments. These roads are going to be constructed with concrete pavements, and it’s CPC+F, which means that there is foreign investment that will come in, and this foreign investment will strengthen and stabilise the naira.

“I’m very happy that the President has directed me to begin the design of one of the spurs linking to this coastal route, and that is the Sokoto-Badagry, which was conceived by the President Shagari administration.

“It’s going to connect the ongoing Lagos-Badagry routes that is being done by the federal government and state government. There is also another route, which is the Enugu-Abakaliki-Ogoja-Cameroun-African Trans-Sahara route. The coastal routes is also going to connect.

“The Sokoto-Badagry is 1,000 kilometres from the spur of the Trans-Saharan trade routes down to Apo in Abuja, which is 461 kilometres. It means that anyone that is travelling from Sokoto to Lagos will do it in about 10 hours, and travelling from South-East to Abuja will do it in a maximum of about five hours.These are the benefits of the coastal routes.’’

The minister also addressed criticism surrounding who gets credit for developing the coastal routes in Nigeria.He said that some people were upset that President Bola Tinubu was associated with the project, saying, the criticism is misplaced anger and a way to attack Tinubu without understanding the bigger picture.

Umahi said, “Some people are already bitter as to why it should be President Bola Tinubu who is the one to develop these coastal routes, as they will be a lasting legacy for generations to come. That is just their own anger. So, they look for an avenue to attack. But it’s all about darkening counsel without knowledge.’’

He argued that the project’s long-term benefits outweighed political squabbles, which, according to him, will leave a positive impact on future generations.

Furthermore, Umahi explained how the coastal routes, envisioned by Tinubu when he was then governor of Lagos State, would significantly improve the functionality of the Lagos deep seaport.

He said that the coastal routes, which would facilitate trade within Nigeria and potentially boost economic growth, would allow ships to directly access the deep seaport, eliminating the need for expensive transloading due to insufficient water depth.

“And many ships that were paid for transloading right now from Togo, from the way the sea had insufficient water depth, we’re going to be sending them money because this coastal route is going to be an evacuation corridor for that deep seaport.

“So, no more transloading. They go straight to the deep seaport and are offloaded, and you can have your goods. If you’re going to Northern part of Nigeria, you just come straight to Badagry and then now to Sokoto.

“And this Sokoto is cutting across Kebbi, Niger, Kwara and so on and so forth; that of the South-East is cutting across Benue, Kogi and Nassarawa-Enugu-Ogoja routes. These are tough decisions, and these are for economic revolution,’’ Umahi said. (NAN).

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