Reviewing infrastructure development in 8 years of Buhari

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By Perpetua Onuegbu

President Muhammdau Buhari of All Progressives Congress (APC) assumed office in 2015 following his triumph over President Goodluck Jonathan of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) he promised that his administration would lift 100 million people out of poverty.

The Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, later explained that Buhari’s ambition was realiseable through massive investment in infrastructure in agriculture, road, housing, among others.

Fashola spoke at the inaugural edition of the PMB administration Scorecard 2015 – 2023 series in Abuja

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For instance, he was quoted as saying, the save in travel time (as a result of road repairs and construction railways), which averaged 56 per cent was the increase in the value of products being transported and improved the finances of their respective traders.

“President Buhari’s commitment to infrastructure as an economic tool is working. Average journey time reduction has been reduced from what you used to do for two hours, to one hour and now, that goes into production”, he said at the event.

To achieve the aim of contributing to poverty alleviation using the infrastructure as a vehicle, the Federal Government embarked on several initiatives to fund projects.

Such initiatives include the Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund (PIDF); Sukuk Fund; the Road Infrastructure Tax Credit Scheme by the NNPC, Multilateral loans/grants and collaboration with other government agencies such as the North East Development Commission.

“When this administration came into being the budgetary allocation for the whole country was N18 billion but within the first year of office, the President was able to put this to N224 billion, today we have 13, 000 roads under construction.

“We have created 383,431 jobs, constructed 9,290.34 kilometres of roads, linear metre of lane marking 2,270,319 and number of road signs installed 254,690.

“What this is doing in effect is that journey time are being reduced, improving human conditions and promoting prosperity”, Fashola said.

He said the PIDF key to the rehabilitation and expansion of Lagos-Shagamu-Ibadan Dual Carriageway Section I (Lagos-Shagamu) in Lagos State, rehabilitation and expansion of Lagos-Shagamu-Ibadan Dual Carriageway Section II: (Shagamu-Ibadan) in Oyo State;

“It was also instrumental in the construction of main works, including associated infrastructure for the 2nd Niger Bridge which had been neglected for three decades has been delivered by the Buhari administration also the rehabilitation of Abuja-Kaduna-Zaria-Kano Dual Carriageway, Sections I, II and III’’, he said.

The Federal Government through the Ministry of Works and Housing raised a total of N742.56 billion through Sovereign Sukuk to finance road projects across the six geo-political zones in the country between 2017 and 2022.

Sukuk is a fixed-income capital market instrument issued by the Debt Management Office (DMO) on behalf of the federal government to raise funds to finance road projects in the country.

The Director-General, Debt Management Office, Ms Patience Oniha said through the Sovereign Sukuk initiative, the DMO had demonstrated its alignment with the policy of President Muhammadu Buhari on infrastructural development.

It has returned dividends on investment having been used to construct and rehabilitate sections of 71 roads covering 2,808.06 km.

It also came handy in funding the construction four bridges by the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing as well as sections of six road projects covering 99km and 19 bridges by the Federal Capital Territory Administration.

Among the roads and bridges constructed with this fund is the Loko-oweto road and bridges over the River Benue linking Nasarawa and Benue.

The administration also intervened in rehabilitating some internal roads in tertiary institution across the country.

A total of 83 road interventions were carried out by the government the last of which was an 850-metre road in the Federal Medical Centre, Abeokuta, Ogun state.

“We have 46 sites in 35 states with 6,068 housing units and 2,870 housing units in the FCT”, he said adding that the outgoing Buhari administration issued 1,262, building contracts, while 6,685 Certificate of Occupancy (C of O) were signed from 2015 to March 2023 generating N13,09 billion in revenue.

While commending the outgoing government for its efforts in infrastructure development, observers advance that the country still has a lot grounds to cover in the sector.

Prof. Yahanna Izam, President of the Nigerian Institute of Building (NIOB) said there was urgent need for the provision of mass housing nationwide.

According to him, the provision of mass housing units will not only address Nigeria’s rising housing deficit but will also solve a social welfare problem.

“It will solve a social welfare problem and it will also reflect the economy that create jobs for teaming populace”, he said.

A Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) report says Nigeria’s housing deficit stood at 7 million in 1991. It says the figure rose to 12 million in 2007 and escalated to 14 million in 2010.

According to the apex bank, the deficit ballooned to 20 million units in 2019 and stands at 28 million units as at January.

Prof. Ismaila Adamu, a lecturer at Yobe State University, Damaturu, urged the government to, therefore double its efforts in addressing housing challenges of Nigerians and ensure that those whose houses were meant for were the real occupants.

According to him, in many instances, houses built by governments for low income earners end up being occupied by politicians and their stooges as well as top civil servants.

Observers say under outgoing Buhari administration the trains are running again, many airports have been upgraded, massive road rehabilitation has taken, among other achievement.

However, given the country’s huge landmass and population, a lot still needs to be done to meet the nation’s infrastructure needs.

It is therefore incumbent on the incoming government to strive to surpass Buhari’s achievements these past eight years. (NANFeatures)

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