Kwara: Ensuring Sustainable Road Infrastructure – By Opeyemi Azeez

The present administration in Kwara State set a new record in October 2016 when Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed commissioned the first state-owned N200 million Asphalt Plant built with the capacity to produce 25 tons of asphalt per day. Considerably, it’s a leap to bridge the road infrastructural gaps in the State.

The development, objectively, has the potency to solve the major problems faced by the State Road Maintenance Agency (KWARMA) in the maintenance and further accomplishment of quality road networks across the State.

Beyond the rhetoric, however, what is plausible is to ensure the government remains on track by blocking all chance for distractive circumstances. In other words, the commendations should be less important. Rather: the end goals.

On the heels of the progress, the State Commissioner for Works and Transport, Alhaji Aro Yahaya, recounted the need to domesticate the production of quality asphalt, and by so doing: generate employment for both skilled and unskilled labour, reduce cost of road maintenance, and provide quick response to the impact of erosion and road degradation. According to him, these needs made it imperative for the State government to acquire the asphalt plant.

From the above, the acquisition of the plant is worthy, realizing the direct impacts it bears on the duo of the government and the people, simultaneously.

Since the commissioning of the plant, respite has overwhelmed motorists and other road users in the State courtesy of the quick (statewide) road rehabilitations embarked upon by KWARMA.

Crowning to the employment opportunities and substantial reduction in the cost of road maintenance is the increasing source, provided by the plant, for more revenue generation through the sale of asphalt to contractors and other users.  Revenue generated will assist the government to actualize more projects in other sectors.

It is also cheering to note that despite the lean financial resources at the disposal of the State government, contractors handling various road projects across the State have been mobilized back to sites. Almost on daily basis, we hear of the Works Commissioner inspecting road projects across the State. While a few of these projects have been completed, many others are ongoing including the Maigida-Arobadi road in Moro local government, Ilala brigde, Oloro palace road and Share-Oke ode road (lot 1 and 2).

Other ongoing road projects are Coca cola bridge road, Egbejila-airport road, Agbo-oba – Henry-George extension, and Amule Saraki bridge. Some of the roads that have been completed are the Babalonma township roads, mini-campus- Henry George road and Adua lere – Sanu  Sheu- Isale  koko road.

With the establishment of the Kwara Infrastructure Development Fund (IF-K) by the State government, Kwara will no doubt witness unprecedented infrastructural growth as IF-K  provides a sustainable funding window and ensures that all ongoing and new capital projects across the State are funded to completion, thereby ending the era of abandoned project in Kwara.

The Geri-Alimi diamond underpass is among several other infrastructural projects planned for implementation under the IF-K scheme. Others are the establishment of two campuses of the Kwara State University in Osi and Ilesha-Baruba, dualisation of Michael Imodu-Ganmi road; dualisation of UITH-Sango road, renovation of the Indoor Sports Hall of the Kwara State Stadium and the Light Up Kwara projects.

Certainly, there is no doubt about Governor Ahmed’s determination and commitment to ensure that Kwara State becomes self-reliant and achieve sustainable development by looking inwards to solve its challenges and initiate far-reaching measures to carry-out developmental projects in the face of lingering national economic downturn.

Nigeria needs infrastructure, not iPhones – Adeosun tells donors, investors

The Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, has informed multilateral donor institutions and investors that Nigeria is hungry for infrastructure that can trigger growth, not iPhones and pricey suits that will drive consumption.

Adeosun spoke Wednesday night at a session during the International Monetary Fund (IMF)/World Bank annual meetings in Washington D.C., saying investors must start to realise that western economies are matured and offer lower returns, while Africa with its infrastructure gap offers greater returns.

The minister made the remarks on the heels of the announcement by the IMF that it would offer zero interest rate on its concessional lending facility from 2016 to 2018 to Nigeria and other low-income economies that are in dire need of financial support to boost their economies and overcome challenges as a result of low commodity prices.

Adeosun said: “It seems very simple, in terms of what needs to be done. We are quite excited about negative interest rates. We like that you’re not earning any money.

“We are happy to take your money and give you very small positive interest rate. We think that the time has come, everyone is thinking out of the West, but there is nothing left in the West, everybody has to now come to Africa.

“But we don’t want investors to come to Africa to sell us iPhones and many expensive suits.

“We want to become productive, so we want this investment to come into infrastructure that will enable us to compete and really enable Africans to stay in Africa.”

She informed her audience that Nigeria has started a journey, which would take its economy from being dependent on oil as a primary commodity, to a more productive economy.

Adeosun said the economy had moved from spending 90 per cent of its budget on recurrent items and only 10 per cent on capital expenditure, to 70 per cent on recurrent expenditure and 30 per cent on capital expenditure.

“From the numbers that we have done, the infrastructure gap that we face, even if we devote our budget for the next three years, it is not enough, so we’ve got to look for creative ways to mobilise additional capital.

“We started of course with spending our own money (pension funds) because we think, of course, that the first thing we have to do is to re-establish some benchmarks, some ability to deliver on roads, on rails, on basic infrastructure,” she said.

According to her, Nigeria’s long-term plan is to mobilise private capital. “We think the narrative around who pays for infrastructure is a very important one in Africa. I say that because at the moment, if you don’t have infrastructure, you are going to pay anyway. If you spend six hours on a journey that should take you an hour, you’ve paid.

“So how do we convert that payment, which is currently informal and very painful, into a formal payment and therefore turn to a revenue stream that could attract investors, That is the challenge that we are working on now.

“As I have said, we are leading with our own money. We are looking at a regulatory framework that would enable investors to come in. We know it’s a new market and we are going to de-risk it.

“So what we are starting with are just infrastructure bonds that we guarantee, and then hopefully, when investors get an appetite for what the Nigerian infrastructure framework can provide them in terms of returns, we believe, we’d be able to remove some of the safeguards needed at the moment.

“We are hungry for infrastructure. We’ve got 170 million people who don’t have power in sufficient quantities, we don’t have a rail system, we don’t have a road structure, we believe that if we solve these infrastructure challenges, the entire productivity chain — agriculture, solid minerals, manufacturing, our unemployment problems — could all be solved.

“Our population is young; we have to provide a standard of living that keeps young vibrant Africans in Africa, because we think that is very important for eliminating poverty,” the minister stated.

Kwara State suspends plan to raise N20 billion for infrastructure

Following the launching of the Kwara State Infrastructure Development Fund IFK, the state government says it has suspended plans to raise a N20b bond from the capital market for infrastructure development.

Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed disclosed this in a statement through his Senior Special Assistant, Media and Communications, Dr. Muyideen Akorede on Wednesday.

The Governor noted that with the launch of the IF-K, which pools resources for funding infrastructure, the N20b naira bond has become unnecessary as all ongoing and new projects by his administration will be funded to completion under the IF-K.

According to him, the state government considered other funding options such as raising funds from the money and capital markets including foreign loans before opting for IF-K.

Alhaji Ahmed emphasized that while the bond remains a viable source of project funding, the IF-K is currently offers the state the most reliable, affordable and sustainable means of funding capital projects without relying on external borrowings.

The Governor, while expressing confidence in the capacity of the State’s Internal Revenue Service (KWIRS) to fund the IF-K, assured Kwarans that the government will meet their aspirations of even development across the State.

Fashola Restates FG’s Commitment To Power, Road And Housing Development

The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, has restated the Federal Government’s determination to develop stable power supply, good road network and affordable housing for Nigerians.

This is contained in a statement made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday in Abuja by the Minister’s Special Adviser (Communications), Mr Hakeem Bello.

It said that Fashola gave the assurance when he spoke at the African Alliance 2016 Investors Day in Lagos.

It stated that the ministry was determined to achieve results by doing things differently to develop sustainable infrastructure to convert current challenges to opportunities for economic growth.

He was quoted to have decried the problems inherent in the entire power chain, “from distribution to transmission, generation and gas supply, including a cross-cutting liquidity problem”.

The statement said the existing gap of meter supply in the distribution segment of the power chain had created enormous opportunities for local production for estimated three million consumers.

“Local producers or investors are expected to meet a significant local content participation that would help Small and Medium Enterprises supply an estimated three million consumers who needed to be metered.

“Apart from metering, the distribution companies have aging assets: Transformers, ring main units, poles, cables, breakers and so on, some of which are 20 to 30 years old.

“It is a problem on one hand and enormous opportunity on the other hand,” it said.

The statement stated that the ministry planned to complete about 47 transmission projects to deliver 1,000 MW more carrying capacity this year to expand national growth plan.

The statement said that the Federal Government, in spite of low oil revenue, had upgraded budgetary allocation to ensure completion of existing roads across the six geo-political zones.

“This is the first step to sustainability. But it is not enough to budget.

“It is important to implement the budget and use the finances properly.

“We plan to phase 206 roads over three years to ensure completion or substantial progress of existing roads with heaviest traffic and strategic economic significance in each of the six geo-political zones.”

The statement also reported the Minister as saying that an agreed common purpose and parameters must be defined to have a sustainable and affordable housing design that had national acceptability.

The minister disclosed that the Federal Government, in partnership with the private sector, was on a Nigerian housing model that would consider geo-political cultural differences.



Buhari Visits China To Discuss Development Of Infrastructure

The development of Nigeria’s infrastructure, especially in the power, roads, railways, aviation, water supply and housing sectors will form the crux of discussions when President Muhammadu Buhari meets Chinese President Xi Jinping, said presidential spokesman Femi Adesina on Saturday.

President Buhari is due to leave Abuja on Sunday for a working visit to China aimed at securing China’s greater support for Nigeria.

Adesina said in a statement that Buhari would also hold talks with Premier Li Keqiang and the Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National Peoples’ Congress, Zhang Dejiang during his visit to the country.

He said the visit will enable the President Buhari to focus on “strengthening bilateral cooperation in line with the Federal Government’s agenda for the rapid diversification of the Nigerian economy, with emphasis on agriculture and solid minerals development.”

“It is expected that in the course of the visit, several new agreements and memorandums of understanding to boost trade and economic relations between Nigeria and China will be concluded and signed.

“The agreements include a Framework Agreement between the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment and the National Development and Reform Commission of the Peoples’ Republic of China to Boost Industrial Activities and Infrastructural Development in Nigeria.

“Others are a Framework Agreement between the Federal Ministry of Communications and the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation, and a Memorandum of Understanding between Nigeria and China on Scientific and Technological Cooperation.”

He noted that the President and his delegation will tour the Shanghai Free Trade Zone and the Guangzhou Economic and Technological Development Zone to gain more useful insights and understanding of the policies that underpinned China’s astronomical economic growth in recent years, n line with the present administration’s prioritization of economic diversification and industrialisation to boost employment,

The President, whose entourage will include some state governors as well as the Ministers of Agriculture, Water Resources, Transport, Defence, Power, Works & Housing, Industry, Trade & Investment, Federal Capital Territory, Science & Technology and Foreign Affairs, will also open a China-Nigeria Business/Investment Forum in Beijing and meet with members of the Nigerian Community in China before returning to Abuja at the weekend.

Credit: Guardian

Abuja Satellite Towns To Get Infrastructure As Reps Urge FCT Administration To Make Provision

The House of Representatives has urged the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) administration to provide infrastructure in satellite towns and districts being developed around the capital city by private entrepreneurs.

The lawmakers made the request on Wednesday after a lawmaker raised the issue during plenary.

Mr Lovette Idisi said that the rate of infrastructural development in the FCT was not commensurate with the rapid growth in the city, as a result of business activities and massive influx of people into the city.

He said that residents at the areas were subjected to hardships from gridlocks, armed robbery and high rate of taxes, as a result of lack of requisite infrastructure.

Credit: ChannelsTV