- Ambode: $50bn No Longer Sufficient to Fix Lagos Infrastructure Deficits
Amid the shrinking revenues accrued to the state from the Federation Accounts, Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, Monday lamented the state’s infrastructure deficits, noting that $50 billion would no longer be sufficient to meet its infrastructure requirements.
Ambode, specifically, disclosed that recent studies showed the state required a supply of at least 10,000 megawatts to effectively function contrary to less than 2,000 megawatts the power distribution companies could supply to the households in the state.
He made the disclosure at the 1st Lagos State Infrastructure Roundtable hosted in collaboration with the Harvard Business School Association of Nigeria (HBSAN) at Eko Hotels and Suites, thereby calling for strategic plan to fund the state’s infrastructure needs.
At the roundtable, Ambode explained that it had become imperative “to assess the state’s infrastructure deficits and take careful and deliberate actions to handle the challenges that face us as a state. We must take actions that will not only affect our livelihood today, but protect the future of our younger generations.”
He therefore cited one after the other some compelling statistics, which according to him, made it imperative to decisively address diverse infrastructure challenges and deficits that face not only Lagos State, but also other megacities across the world.
He cited the population of the state now estimated at 24 million; noting that the state “is on track to be a city of 36 million people or the 6th largest city in the world after Mumbai, Delhi, Dhaka, Kinshasa, and Kolkata and ahead of Tokyo, Karachi, New York, and Mexico City by 2050.”
“We have a migration rate of 86 people moving into Lagos every hour, higher than New York, London or Mumbai. We have a population density of 6,939 persons per Kilometre and an average of 5 persons per household. With all these come challenges and pressures on the physical and social infrastructure,” he explained.
Giving insight into diverse infrastructure challenges confronting the state, Ambode said about $50 billion was required “to address the state’s infrastructure deficit as at 2010 without the inclusion of housing and education. In 2017, we can all imagine what this deficit will be.”
Apart from the power requirement put at 10,000, he disclosed that the state “requires at least one million housing units every year for a period between five and 10 years to fix housing deficit.”
In 2015, precisely, the governor noted that the state had 16,000 kilometres network of roads, though with a daily human traffic of over 7.5million people and 2.8 million cars.
He said the power “needs of the State is over 10,000 megawatts of power, but we receive less than 2,000 megawatts. We presently supply 210.5 million gallons of water per day as against a demand of 750 million gallons per day. Our State generates 13,000 tonnes of solid waste per day.
“These are just a few areas where we have huge infrastructure deficits. I am not bringing up these details to scare us but to let us know the challenges ahead. As a government, we are aware of these challenges. This is why we supported this initiative to hold an infrastructure roundtable.
“These are challenges that face most mega cities like ours because we represent hope to many people and we must provide for all who make Lagos their home. If Lagos works, we could have a chance as a nation to work on others.”
He acknowledged that the government “does not have to be afraid of the infrastructure challenges. That is the truth.
That is why we are here. Our primary role as government is to be enablers. Our major responsibilities are to protect the lives and property of residents and to improve their welfare. I hope to get some answers from the roundtable.”
He, therefore, challenged the roundtable to work out how to fund the necessary infrastructure to keep our State running efficiently and support all our residents considering that revenues “are not growing at the same rate as the rapidly increasing population.”
He ruled out the idea of “increasing taxes unnecessarily or taxing the residents to death. So, what are the best funding options available? What is our best mix? What is appropriate financial model to run the state? Where should we consider PPP arrangements? Where should the government handle solely and which should be privatised? Which infrastructure should be prioritised?