In a bid to drive the economy and create jobs for the Nigerian people, President Muhammadu Buhari revealed his intention to prioritise and commit to the development of infrastructure in his new year broadcast.
“There are huge opportunities in Nigeria. We are taking people off the streets, creating value and job employment,” states Managing Director at Proforce, Mr Ade Ogundeyin. “We’re building roads and bridges. We’re building houses. We’re also building power assets, particularly transmission assets, which government retains in the aftermath of privatisation,” asserts Hon. Babtunde Raji Fashola, Minister of Power, Works and Housing.
The Federal Government has informed Nigerians to expect an additional 1,129 MW in the country by 2018. At present, Nigeria generates 7,000 MW of electricity with a transmission capacity of 6,900 MW. The Power Sector Recovery Programme (PSRP) was set up in 2017 in order to put into action a series of policy actions and financial solutions for the power sector. It also works toward solving distribution problems by strengthening the governance of DisCos by reconstituting board representation in its eleven DisCos. In addition to this, the Rural Electrification Agency (REA) are working on unlocking Nigeria’s mini-grid energy activity.
Alongside the development of a stable power supply, President Buhari has announced the revival and reconstitution of the Management of the Federal Road Maintenance Agency (FERMA) which has been given the task of urgent road repairs over all the geo-political zones. FERMA’s General Managing Director Engr. Nuruddeen Rafindadi explicates, “There are about 35,000 km of federal highways in Nigeria. At any one time the Ministry of Works will be having existing contracts on 2,000. The rest of it will be under finance mandate to maintain.” He clarifies the importance of the road network as economic enabler “It’s a catalyst. The better the roads are, the better we are able to evaporate agrigoods and prevent damages in perishable items.”
Other transport infrastructure projects include the expansion of existing rail lines as well as the development of new ones. Construction has already commenced on the rail lines from Lagos-Kaduna which is expected to reach Ibadan from Lagos by the end of 2019. Transport Minister Amaechi has signed an agreement on behalf of the Federal Government for a contract with the CCECC for the construction of the Lagos-Calabar coastal railway line in Nigeria. When completed, the proposed coastal railway line in Nigeria will link all sea ports. Negotiations for the construction of other railway lines are also underway.
The importance of infrastructure lies in its potential to develop the business milieu and economic growth. Minister of Power, Works and Housing Hon. Fashola elaborates, “the investment in infrastructure is driving the value chain of the economic diversification,” providing Nigeria with a unique opportunity to emerge.