• Sunday, May 26, 2024
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Coastal Highway: How the infrastructure can enhance tourism business

Can Nigeria’s coastal highway drive industrialisation, economic transformation?

Despite the controversies and the many unanswered questions surrounding the Lagos-Calabar Coastal Highway, it remains a laudable infrastructure that will, unarguably, impact positively on the economy of Nigeria.

Apart from promoting trade and intercity travels, the 700-kilometre road on which the federal government says it will be committing N15 trillion, comes with a number of benefits one of which is enhancing tourism business, especially those located along the proposed highway.

The Highway which, according to David Umahi, the minister of works, will be terminating at the Lekki Deep Sea Port in its pilot phase, will also be connecting nine states of the federation, meaning that leisure lovers and tourists from these locations will find it easy to locate tourism destinations.

It will also facilitate movement and create businesses on its trail. Real Estate business will be flourish in communities along the highway as people will be needing real estate assets for either commercial or residential purposes. Land values will appreciate incrementally as the use of the highway gains traction.

Though the fate of his Beach Resort is still hanging on the balance, having received notice of demolition from the Lagos State government, Paul Onwuanibe, the Group CEO of Landmark Group, still believes the construction of the Coastal Road is a laudable project.

Onwuanibe hopes that the road would enhance tourism rather than destroy it, hence his request for the government to consider win-win solutions that will save their Beach Resort.

The Landmark Beach Resort is a $200 million facility which, according to the Group CEO, is home to about 80 businesses that have created over 3000 jobs all of which would be consigned to the middle of nowhere should the government carry out its planned demolition of the Beach.

“Our only motivation is to preserve the hopes and aspirations of the thousands of families of the workers who have devoted their time to creating and sustaining the most visited leisure, lifestyle and tourism destination on the West African coast,” Onwuanibe wrote on his X at the weekend.

He was responding to the increased media attention, concerns and questions raised by members of the public regarding the construction of the Coastal Road and the ongoing discussions being held with different segments of government in seeking a win-win solution that will preserve and promote tourism and business operators on the Landmark Beach.

Onwuanibe who was elated by the visit made recently by the Federal Minister of Works, David Umahi, to the Landmark Ecosystem, thanked the minister for taking time to visit and see first-hand the infrastructure, independent businesses and tourism platform on the Landmark Beach.

“Despite Umahi’s busy schedule, we appreciate his concern for our industry. I remain hopeful that the ongoing discussions and deliberations will conclude in such a way that will preserve the Landmark Group’s tourism platform, the core of which is the Landmark Beach, the independent businesses and the thousands of associated jobs,” he noted.

He disclosed that, as a policy, the Landmark Group chooses to ignore negative and unfounded statements in order to focus on business strategy and growth, adding, however, that they find it important to dispel any notion that Landmark aligns or is influenced by any group or persons.

As a business, Landmark has been in existence for over 27 years and, according to the Group CEO, the company has operated in 14 different countries in 3 continents worldwide, with only one primary aim, which is doing business, creating impact and changing lives for both their stakeholders and clients.

It is noteworthy that, as laudable as this project is, some Nigerians are asking a lot of questions and at the forefront of this group of Nigerians is former vice president of the country, Atiku Abubakar, who says he is alarmed by the cost of the project and lack of due process in the choice of the contractor.

Atiku insists that the tentative cost of the project is equivalent to the total budget of all 36 states of the federation combined. “The total budget of all 36 states of the federation for 2024 stands at about N14 trillion. If you add that of the FCT, the entire budget of all sub-nationals is N15.91 trillion.

This is scandalous. Worse still, they have already awarded the contract but are still not sure of the level of the counterpart funding component of the federal government,” Atiku said in his reaction to the cost of the project as disclosed by Umahi at a stakeholders meeting in Lagos on Thursday.