By Palma Ileye
United Kingdom Nigeria Infrastructure Advisory Facility, UKNIAF, has been charged to continue providing capacity and other form of assistance to States and FCT in line with the States Integrated Infrastructure Master Plan of the federal government.
The Minister of Budget and Economic Planning, Senator Abubakar Atiku Bagudu, gave the advice yesterday when UKNIAF officials paid him a courtesy visit in his office, on Abuja.
Bagudu advised UKNIAF to align its infrastructural renewal plans with the National objectives of the federal government in other to ensure seamless effort in Infrastructure planning and
also support the Ministry to develop National Infrastructure Register to keep track of national infrastructure stock.
He solicited compliance with the country’s Master Plan on Infrastructure, the National Integrated Infrastructure Master Plan, NIIMP, which was developed in 2014 through a participatory process involving all relevant stakeholders.
While lauding the past efforts of NIAF in infrastructural development across the length and breadth of the country, the Minister pleaded with the leadership of NIAF to assist in strengthening institution capacity of the Ministry and other relevant MDAs to achieve their mandates.
He said: “The limited capacity of the MDAs in the identification and packaging of bankable projects still remains an obstacle to infrastructure delivery in Nigeria as it has limited private sector investment in infrastructure development. NIAF should assist in strengthening institution capacity of the Ministry and other relevant MDAs to achieve that purpose.”
The Budget Minister also solicited the assistance of NIAF in providing support to the Ministry to host national and sub national awareness and sensitization workshops on the Reviewed National Integrated Infrastructure Master Plan (2020-2043) as the FG approved vehicle to deliver infrastructure projects in Nigeria.
Earlier, one of the UK representatives, Engr. Frank Edobe, Lead Power UKNIAF, noted that the goal of the NIAF was to increase access to improved, reliable and affordable infrastructure services in Nigeria via enhancing governments capacity to plan, finance and operate infrastructure delivery at the Federal and State.
He harped on the need for the Federal and State Governments to emphasize the importance of Public Private Partnership as a vehicle to bridge the infrastructure funding gap across the country.
Another UKNIAF representative, Olapade Hakeem Engagement Lead UKNIAF, during a presentation to the Minister, informed that the visit was a follow up to the visit of the UK Foreign Secretary to President Bola Tinubu on how to work with the FG to support the vision for infrastructure delivery being a critical driver of economic growth and overall development.
The UK representative maintained that the implementation of the National Development Plan would therefore be heavily dependent on a strong partnership between the private and public sectors.
The Director, Infrastructure, in the Ministry, Mr Samuel Nwozuzu appreciated the team from UK-NIAF for initiating the courtesy visit aimed at bringing development to the country in the area of infrastructure financing.
It should be noted that the UK-NIAF was established by the UK Department for International Development, DFID, in response to a request made by the Federal Government for support in the provision of technical assistance to enable the country to improve its infrastructure, the quality and reliability of related services.