In its determined effort to enhance safety, security and comfort on the roads, the Federal Government has established a robust capital project development framework to encourage and increase public-private partnerships to deliver critical road projects.
Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma who indicated this in Abuja on Thursday while inaugurating the Technical Working Group (TWG) of the National Road Safety Advisory Council, said one of the fastest ways of ensuring safety and security on the roads is by investing massively in road infrastructure, leveraging private sector investments.
Senator Udoma told members of the TWG that the meeting provides members an opportunity to get acquainted with the details of their assignment and the roles they are expected to play because clarity on their roles and responsibilities will help promote actualization of the goals and programmes outlined in the Nigeria Road Safety Strategy (NRSS).
The vision of the NRSS, he explained, was borne out of the desire by relevant stakeholders to stem the menace of road traffic accidents and the consequent loss of lives and destruction of property on our highways.
The NRSS, he said, is in line with the vision of United Nations Decade of Action for Road Safety: 2011 – 2020 as resolved by United Nations General Assembly in 2010, which is to reduce the rate of road traffic accidents and fatalities by 50% by the year 2020.
“To achieve this goal, member States are required to forge a sustainable platform for a nationally coordinated response involving relevant stakeholders, including government, non-governmental organizations; communities, religious and traditional institutions as well as the Media. It is in fulfillment of this that the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), working closely with the then National Planning Commission and other stakeholders took up the responsibility to articulate the NRSS document in 2010 with elaborate measures to secure active participation and constructive inputs from relevant stakeholders across board”, he further explained.
The Minister informed the group that in the course of the consultative efforts, stakeholders expressed overwhelming support, commitment and enthusiasm towards the success of a coordinated road safety management system in Nigeria through the NRSS document.
The document, he noted, took into consideration the multi-dimensional nature of road safety management in the country by outlining and harmonising the different road safety initiatives of the various tiers of government, international agencies, civil society organisations, the private sector and other stakeholders for collective action.
He said Government is already harnessing the existing pool of sustainable development funds to assess the viability and bankability of critical road infrastructure projects in the country to achieve the objectives of the NRSS.
The Minister noted that NRSS is in full alignment with the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (2017 – 2020) which places strong emphasis on safety, security and comfort of our people on the roads.
Government, he pointed out, is leveraging a sustainable and alternative mix of funding for critical road infrastructure projects, including project-financing initiatives, infrastructure bonds, and Diaspora bonds.
“Our commitment to achieving these goals is reflected in the strategic objectives of the 2017 Federal Government budget. Road infrastructure development is one of the main project priorities in the budget. In the 2017 Budget we have over 65 roads and bridges listed for reconstruction and maintenance across the 6 geo-political zones of the country”, he said.
Senator Udoma said his Ministry will work closely with, and support the newly inaugurated TWG in sourcing international funding from development partners for the implementation of the NRSS and will also remain active in the monitoring and evaluation of the NRSS implementation.
Also speaking, the Corps Marshall of the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC), Dr Boboye Oyeyemi, confirmed that for some time now, road safety has become one of the defining issues in public health and economic development globally arising from the considerable degree of injuries victims sustain, lives and property loss, including roads and road infrastructure degradation.
The Corps Marshall said that that even though the country has made huge progress through the steps taken by government to establish the FRSC in 1988, the achievement could have been greater if a national road safety strategy was developed.
Delighted that the NRSS came in to address that situation, Dr Oyeyemi said its overall objective is to establish an integrated national approach towards reducing incessant occurrence of deaths and serious injuries, damage to property as a result of traffic crashes on Nigerian roads.
He said the TWG is responsible for implementation, uniform standard on traffic enforcement, vehicle inspection, roads signs and markings, personnel training, rescue and recovery administration among other duties.