The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Olamilekan Adegbite, has disclosed that Nigeria has about 70 per cent road infrastructure deficit while stressing the need for the country to boost local bitumen production.
According to the minister, only 50,000km out of 200,000km of road networks are paved in the country.
The minister disclosed this in Abuja during a press briefing on the concession of the delineated Nigerian bitumen blocks.
The minister added that the cost of road construction in the country would ultimately go down with the local production of bitumen, which would also lead to import substitution, local content development and increased value addition to the mining industry, job creation, and more revenue for the government.
He said, “Nigeria currently has 200,000 km of road networks with only 60,000 km worth of road paved. This considerable road infrastructure deficit presents an inherent demand for bitumen.
Hence, the development of Bitumen will lead to import substitution, local content development, and increased value addition of the mining industry to the domestic economy, thereby creating jobs and generating revenue for the government.”
The minister further said that the country’s bitumen deposit is ranked sixth in the world in terms of reserve size, adding that the country is endowed with a bitumen reserve size of 42.74 billion metric tonnes.
According to him, the country is preparing to begin the production of bitumen locally as it has appointed a transaction advisor, PricewaterhouseCoopers, to oversee the process.
The minister also revealed that a number of international and local investors had expressed interest in bidding for the bitumen blocks.