Government hinges transformation agenda success on infrastructure development
March 15, 2013 | 3:45 pm| | | Start Conversation
The Federal Government has said that the success of its transformation agenda depends on infrastructure development.
It added that though it has three other priorities in the next five years, including good governance, human capital development and real sector, premium is placed on infrastructure projects funding to impact positively on the realisation of the other priorities.
President Goodluck Jonathan stated this in his address at the on-going National Conference of Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers (NIESV) in Benin City, the Edo State capital.
The president, who was represented at the conference by Mike Onolememen, minister of works, listed aspects of good governance to which government gives priority attention as security of lives and property, law and order, and providing enabling environment.
He commended the theme of the conference, ‘Infrastructure Development and Economic Empowerment’, saying it couldn’t have come at a better time than now when government’s transformation agenda is geared towards achieving the objectives of Vision 2020 to which infrastructure provision is critical.
“Infrastructure development and economic growth/empowerment are mutually reinforcing as infrastructure development plays a vital role in wealth creation”, he said.
Continuing, he said, “The importance of infrastructure to national development cannot be over-emphasised, it is at the core of good governance and public welfare”.
The president noted that while infrastructure development is inevitable for economic development, there is need to develop adequate manpower in terms of skills and learning to harness the opportunities that would follow the development of key infrastructure in the country.
He, therefore, urged NIESV to focus on developing enough capacity in the built environment or housing sector where there is a huge skills gap.
In her keynote address at the conference, Oby Ezekwesili, former minister of education and former vice president, World Bank for Africa, noted that Nigeria has achieved some level of macro-economic stability which, she said, is good for both businesses and the people.
Ezekwesili added that Africa’s economic growth is between 5 and 7 percent, adding, however, that the growth has not translated to poverty reduction in the continent.
According to her, infrastructure deficit is holding down economic development in Nigeria, disclosing that infrastructure has made only 1 percent contribution to economic development.
“Infrastructure gap creates 15 percent additional burden to the cost of doing business in Nigeria”, she said, adding that the country needs to spend 5 percent of its GDP for the next 10 years to be able to close its infrastructure gap
CHUKA UROKO in Benin City
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