Here’s the financial implication of FG’s two-day closure of the Third Mainland Bridge

Good road infrastructure plays an important role in the economic development of a country. And, well-developed road networks not only connect communities,  they also aid seamless commercial activities. It, therefore, means that how a country manages its road infrastructure will directly impact on its economic growth.

Many roads in Nigeria have a significant impact on the economic growth of the nation; including the Third Mainland Bridge in Lagos which is the longest of three bridges connecting Lagos Island to the Mainland. The bridge starts from Oworonshoki which is linked to the Apapa-Oshodi expressway and Lagos-Ibadan expressway and ends at the Adeniji Adele Interchange on Lagos Island – making it the one bridge that binds Lagos together.

The 11.8 kilometre Third Mainland Bridge has, on several occasions, been shut down for renovation purposes, and has been undergoing a face-lift since July; restricting movement on the bridge.

And, on Wednesday, October 2020, the Federal Government announced plans to completely shut down a section of the bridge for two nights for renovation purposes from midnight of Friday, October 9 to midnight of Sunday, October 11 to enable the contractor complete the first stage of casting works on the bridge.

This decision has started a conversation:

The Third Mainland Bridge is an essential part of Lagos daily commuting, recording the highest number of commuters compared to the Eko and Carter bridges. According to a traffic report in 2002, the number of vehicles on both directions recorded in a 12-hour-period was 180,902, which was projected to have doubled in 2018.

While it is necessary to keep the bridge in top shape for commuters, the announcement of its complete closure for two days is rather abrupt, considering the impact t will have on economic activities not just in Lagos but in the entire country.

Lagos has a reputation as the economic nerve centre of Nigeria and rightly so.

The Lagos State Government was reported to have recorded 81 per cent of the projected revenue for the first half of 2020 despite the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on economic activities and the ongoing renovation work on the Third Mainland Bridge. 81 per cent performance of the projected revenue for the period stood at N432.6 billion.

Considering the economic viability of the state, there is a high chance that this figure would have been doubled or tripled if not for the ongoing renovation work on the bridge and the impact of the pandemic.

Based on available statistics, Lagos generated more Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) than 20 states combined in 2019. While the IGR of the 36 states of the federation totalled N1.3 trillion in 2019, the IGR of Lagos stood at N398 billion. The Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja, on the other hand, was able to generate N74 billion IGR against N30 billion from the Federation Account in the same period.

In 2018, the total IGR from the 36 states stood at 1.16 trillion while the breakdown showed Lagos topping all the states with an IGR of N382.1 billion. It is no wonder Lagos has a reputation as the commercial nerve centre of the nation.

The abrupt shutdown of Nigeria’s busiest bridge; will most likely impact negatively on the projected revenue of the state for the rest of the year.

Perhaps, FG’s plan to close down the bridge should have come with timely notice.

Lagosians may also need to brace up for a possible surge in transport fares as we have seen in similar situations in the past and people may need to spend more than they bargained for. The closure of the bridge will also lead to a spike in road traffic resulting in the loss of productive man-hours which will impact negatively on the economy. 

It is necessary to keep our roads in good shape through rehabilitation; however, constructing more road infrastructure that will serve as efficient alternative routes will save the nation from economic loss when other major infrastructures are undergoing the necessary renovation. 

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