The opportunity Cost of N37bn NASS Renovation - Politics,Gossips & Nollywood

The opportunity Cost of N37bn NASS Renovation

The decision by the authorities of the Nigerian National Assembly (NASS) to renovate the legislative complex with ₦37 billion has continued to receive knocks from Nigerians, especially those who, like us, are looking at what the economist calls opportunity cost of that insensitive and ill-advised decision.

Looking at this humongous amount, we immediately see the many other more strategically useful and beneficial things it can do for the Nigerian economy that has been forgone in order to renovate a building where legislative business, centers largely on the selfish interest of the assembly members.

Among alternatives foregone, roads infrastructure, housing and healthcare stand out undeniable economic benefits.

With about 198,000 kilometres network of roads, Nigeria has the largest road network in West Africa and second-largest in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). However, only 2,627 kilometers are dualized and, worse still, only about 35 percent of the network is motorable.

It is estimated that when 37 billion is deployed to the provision of roads in the country, 45 kilometers of standard roads would be delivered at the cost of N800 million per kilometre. The impact of this on the economy cannot be easily quantified – lives would be saved, cities would be connected while trade and commerce would be encouraged and facilitated.

It is no longer news that Nigeria is a “homeless” nation and this is painful in a country that can house a significant number of its citizens if the right things are done or allowed to be done.

Given its crowded housing market where the demand-supply gap is estimated at 22 million units, the housing situation in Nigeria is dire. With a population of nearly 200 million people, the country requires a minimum of two million housing units per annum for 10 years to close the gap.

Believing that a few housing units at a time would take the country near the promised land in housing delivery, we see N37 billion making a bold and ambitious start in low income or affordable housing.

At ₦7.5 million per unit, the estimate is that 5,000 two-bedroom bungalows could be provided for low-income home seekers in the country if the N37 billion is committed to that purpose, bearing in mind that the legendary housing deficit in the country is about low cost or affordable housing.

What this means, in our view, is that the money has capacity to take 5,000 families off the housing market. Considering an average of four persons per family, comprising father, mother and two children, we see the cost of renovating that complex providing homes for 20,000 Nigerians who will be out of the crowded housing market for good.

As a social problem, solving the housing needs of Nigerians have the multiple advantages of ending destitution, providing security for citizens, increasing productivity at work places and ultimately growing the country’s economy.

Also, at both primary and tertiary level, the Nigerian health story is pathetic and it is disagreeable that consideration is given to what is, arguably, a frivolous ego trip intent on squandering our commonwealth.

Like the rest of humanity, we are frightened by the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) statistics on cancer which it describes as the second leading cause of death globally being responsible for an estimated 9.6 million deaths in 2018. Globally, about 1 in 6 deaths is due to cancer.

The organization notes that, approximately, 70 percent of deaths from cancer occur in low-and middle-income countries and our dear country belongs to this group. The available record shows that the economic impact of cancer is significant and is increasing.

Besides being able to provide 350 primary health centres, N37 billion can also make significant impact in fighting the cancer scourge by way of establishing a well-equipped and staffed cancer centre that can go beyond diagnosis to treatment and cure. But sadly, this is part of the foregone alternatives.

We are gladdened by what the new private sector-driven NSIA-LUTH Cancer Care Centre is doing at the University of Lagos Teaching Hospital (LUTH) for cancer patients. That simply underscores what is possible in Nigeria’s health sector with private capital or adequate public sector funding.

Deploying N37 billion to building more of such facility and not just renovating a structure that nobody says is dysfunctional is one such funding and we support that for the good of more Nigerians, not just that a few self-serving individuals masquerading as representatives of the people.

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