With the present economic reality in Nigeria, there is an urgent need to increase local production to mitigate and even possibly reverse the current economic recession.
I spent about 3 hours to commute from Ajah to Agege on a Monday afternoon (off peak time); a huge waste of my time. This clearly describes the inefficiency of the Lagos transport system. And that needs to change and even more so now Nigeria is facing the challenges of an economic recession.
Lagos state government estimates the population of Lagos state at about 17.5 million. To be conservative, let us assume that 50℅ of the population are workers. That puts the Lagos state workforce at about 8.75 million. Conservatively also, we assume that 20% of Lagos state workforce spend at least 4 hours on the road each working day (5 days a week) commuting to and from the workplace. This tantamount to spending 35 million man hours per week or 1.75 billion man hours per year assuming a 50 week work year. To put this in the right perspective, this represents a loss of approximately 200 000 man years per year wasted by workers in Lagos state traffic alone.
The real losses can be identified as the opportunity cost of 200 000 man years on Nigeria's economy. These includes worker fatigue which reduces worker productivity rate, loss of extra time workers could have put into production, loss of time for proper upbringing of children to reduce social vices, loss of time for recreation which will generate additional revenue for those who provide such services, loss of revenue in the form of taxes for Government due to lower production from workers and most importantly loss of time for productive thinking to solve problems in the workplace and the society and to generate ideas which may culminate in new businesses and development.
The economic value of these losses cannot easily be quantified but do easily run into billions of dollars down the drain in Lagos traffic per annum (A conservative estimate based on a 40 hour work week, NGN 50 000 monthly salary and exchange rate of NGN 315 to USD 1 puts the losses at USD 1.736 billion per year).
The financial incentive to debottleneck the transport system in Lagos state alone is huge and cannot be overemphasized. The government must make this a top priority to free up productive time which can be spent to reverse Nigeria’s economic recession.
Onochie is a process Engineer. He is working to help reverse the current trend of importing petroleum products into the country. He is a critical thinker and a firm believer in Nigeria.