Oghenevwede Ohwovoriole in Abuja
Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo has called on governments at all levels to plan Nigerian cities and growing urban centres to meet the needs of the growing population.
Osinbajo made the call Thursday in his address at the ARCHIBUILT, NIA-INFODRAC conference, organised by the Nigerian Institute of Architecture (NIA) in Abuja.
The vice-president stressed the need to develop cities and urban centres that are habitable and sustainable with life.
He said: “We are dealing with the rate of population growth and urbanisation that is probably unparalleled; we are dealing with some of the highest growth rates anywhere in the world.
“These are the sort of dramatic changes that challenge our capacity for social planning and urbanisation. Now, how do we ensure sustainable urban planning that transforms our cities and growing urban clusters to truly habitable space; that are of health and sustainable growth with high quality of life?
“Urban planning must include key energy need of a large number of people.”
In her remarks, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, said government had created several innovative approaches to financing and developing infrastructure projects by raising funds and resources and deploying them in key areas of concern.
She listed some of them to include the Road Infrastructure Development and Refurbishment Investment Tax Credit Scheme launched in 2019 to leverage private sector capital via tax credits, and provide private sector expertise to construct, repair and maintain critical road infrastructure in key economic growth corridors and industrial clusters in Nigeria.
Ahmed also listed the Nigeria Infrastructure Fund through the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) and the Sukuk.
According to her, the government has so far issued a total of N694.5b Sukuk with the plan of issuing another N250 billion.
She stated that the raised funds have so far been deployed for specific road projects across the country, adding that the government had invested to fund projects in key sectors such as health, education, agriculture, financial services and housing.
The minister said some of the flagship projects that the NSIA embarked upon were the Presidential Fertiliser Initiative, Lagos Ibadan expressway, second Niger bridge, as well as Abuja, Kaduna, Kano roads.
“The revised National Integrated Infrastructure Master Plan for 2022-2043 will cost $2.3 trillion, to modernise Nigeria’s infrastructure stock over the next 21 years.
“As architects, you know, it is impossible to build without a master plan. For this reason, we have revised the Nigeria integrated infrastructure master plan and also developed and implemented the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan and its current successor, the Nigeria Development Plan for 2021 to 2025.”