Lagos State, beset by an infrastructure crisis, is the only city in the world that funds rail projects on its own, according to deputy governor Obafemi Hamzat.
Speaking at the 5th Lafarge’s Concrete Ideas series held at the Eko Hotels and Suites, Obafemi Hamzat who represented the governor Babajide-Sanwo Olu, said Lagos is the only mega city without rail infrastructure and he implored stakeholders to join the government is ensuring that people have access to world class facilities.
“We are the only city that doesn’t have a rail. We are the only city that funds rail projects on our own. In other countries these projects are funded by the government,” said Hamzat.
“We have to borrow to finance this. The cost of building materials has gone as we are building infrastructure that our children will be proud of,” Hamzat adds.
At the third Lagos investors’ roundtable and launch of a deal book organised by the Office of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Investment in 2021, Governor Bbajide Sanwo Olu said Lagos will require about $15 billion over the next five years for infrastructure.
The state is constructing a light rail system under a public-private partnership (PPP).
The Lagos Rail Mass Transit System project is sponsored by the Lagos State Government (LSG) and being developed by Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (LAMATA) on behalf of LSG.
The first two lines of the urban light rail project are estimated to cost $1.4bn. The Red line will be 30km long and will run between Marina and Agbado.
The Blue line will be 27km long, connecting Okokomaiko to Marina, according to Future Rail, an essential magazine for the Rail Industry.
Analysts say the city expansion has been almost entirely unplanned. As of 1960, it had a population of 200,000 that has ballooned into 20 million as it has the smallest land mass in Nigeria.
The state faces water and housing crises as many live in shanty and ghettos, as the United Nations said this is creating an unacceptable condition for people who live in an insalubrious environment.
More than 500,000 people move into the city every year, which is why there is a huge housing deficit.
Of course, there is a 17 million housing deficit in Nigeria and the high cost of building materials and rising interest rates has balloon mortgage rates that are inaccessible to the middle class income earners.
To shrink the housing deficit and optimize space, the state government plans to embark on the construction of high-rise buildings and skyscrapers.
Bbajide Sanwo-Oluhas had directed the state Ministry of Housing to deliver at least 20,000 affordable housing schemes for the masses in the state by May 2023.
The state Commissioner for Housing, Moruf Akinderu-Fatai, noted that the insecurity challenge and harsh economic realities in the country have inhibited progress in delivering various housing schemes as prospective investors are discouraged in investing their resources due to pervading uncertainties.
Other participants at the Lafarge Concrete 5.0 event stressed raised concerns over the incessant building collapse across the state and suggested ways of curbing future occurrences.
Lafarge’s Concrete Ideas series have become not only a high-profile platform for the discussion of construction and real estate sector policies but also deliberations on broader public policy problems.
The concrete ideas platform embodies Lafarge Africa’s thought leadership interventions and has become a catalyst for the attainment of sustainable change, continuous improvement and commercial success within the sector.