SENSITING JOURNALISTS TO FRAMEWORK, DEVELOPMENT AND IMPLEMENTATION OF INFRASTRUCTURE MASTER PLAN | NAN
* Documents on the National Integrated Infrastructure Master Plan (NIIMP) indicate the Nigeria’s core infrastructure stock stands between 20 and 25 per cent.
Concerned citizens note that the percentage is low considering the position of Nigeria in Africa, observing that South Africa has 87 per cent.
According to them, Nigeria should be ranked with Poland, China and Indonesia that has 80 per cent, 76 per cent and 70 per cent benchmark, respectively.
Considering this development, the National Planning Commission that is saddled with the matters relating to national development strategy and overall management of the national economy, designed a framework for the development of NIIMP in 2012.
The Federal Executive Council (FEC) subsequently approved the framework as a 30-year plan to become a blueprint for accelerated infrastructure development in Nigeria.
“The estimated yearly required investments for first phase period between 2014 and 2018 are put at an average of about 33 billion dollars per annum.
“The investment investments will be geared towards meeting infrastructure requirements of the major sectors of the economy such as energy, transport, Information Communication Technology (ICT) and water.
“Others are agriculture, mining, housing, social infrastructure, vital registration and infrastructure asset classes,’’ the documents state.
Concerned citizens, however, insist that there should be a senstisation programme aimed at enlightening the public on the importance of NIIMP.
In the light of this, the National Planning Commission, in collaboration with the Infrastructure Bank Plc, organised a media workshop on: “Strategic and Sustainable Promotion/Marketing of the NIIMP’’.
Speaking at the workshop, Dr Abubakar Suleiman, the Minister of National Planning, urged journalists to ensure that their reportage of the workshop was factual; devoid of bias.
The minister said the workshop was to ensure that journalists had a better understanding of the NIIMP.
The minister, who said media was critical to the NIIMP implementation, added that “whatever the media publish or air shapes national and international discourse.
“Published work, especially from the mass media, has a strategic impact on the content, emotion and the end direction of public life.’’
Suleiman said the Federal Executive Council approved the implementation of NIIMP on Sept. 3, 2014, expressing optimism that the plan, if effectively implemented, would create job opportunities and reduce poverty.
Mr Nurudeen Lawal, the Acting Director, Infrastructure Department of the National Planning Commission, said about 145 billion dollars was expected to be available for public financing of infrastructure during the first phase of NIIMP implementation within five years.
He said the fund would be expended on the prioritised projects such as energy, transport and other sectors across the six geo-political zones.
Lawal said the public sector was expected to contribute 52 per cent investments while the private sector would commit 48 per cent to infrastructure development.
He said that the commission established an Infrastructure Delivery Coordinating Unit (IDCU) to coordinate the implementation of the plan.
He also expressed the commission’s support for the creation of IDCU in the Federal Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and states to ensure effective coordination of the NIIMP implementation.
Mr David Adeosun, the Head of IDCU in the commission, said the unit was to collect, collate and process data on NIIMP execution as well as monitor and evaluate the plan.
He also said the unit was saddled with the responsibility of programme management and development.
Mr Hakeem Olopade, the Executive Director, the Infrastructure Bank Plc, said that the Federal Government had secured the commitment of support from the World Bank and other development finance institutions to fund infrastructure projects.
“Agencies collaborating with the Federal Government are United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID) and African Development Bank.
“Other agencies also include International Finance Corporation and Development Bank of Southern Africa,’’ he said.
Olopade said funds from the contractual savings sector such as mutual funds, pension funds, and insurance companies, were particularly suitable for infrastructure projects financing.
He said such funds were imperative because their long-term nature directly matched the financial profile of the infrastructure projects.
Olopade stressed the need for the establishment of special intervention funds which he described as critical to provide the much needed impetus to drive reforms in critical sectors of the economy.
In his remarks, Mr Tayo Kayode, the Project Management Consultant of the National Planning Commission, urged the stakeholders to see NIIMP as a tool for sustainable development.
He said NIIMP was like a vision that required visionary leaders to lead, urging stakeholders to see the infrastructure master plan as inclusive growth and wealth distribution.
According to him, the commission will work with Civil Societies Organisations and non-governmental organisations that have interest of peoples in mind in order to achieve NIIMP objectives.
Observers at the workshop, nonetheless, believe that if the government provides enabling environment for the implementation of NIIMP, it will turn around the country’s economy.(NANFeatures)
**If used, please credit the writer as well as News Agency of Nigeria (NAN)