The government under the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, have positioned infrastructure development as an essential objective in Nigeria’s fight to attain social/economic stability.
However a report from the Nigerian Society of Engineers indicates Nigeria has a long way to go in order to achieve standard infrastructure across various sectors in the country.
Former minister of budget and planning, Dr. Shamsuddeeh Usman said about 2,900 billion dollars was required for Nigeria’s Infrastructural development from 2014-2044.
He explained that for development projection, 127 billion dollars had been earmarked for spending between 2104 and 2018.
He added that only about 9 billion was currently being spent on infrastructural development.
This marginal difference indicates underfunding of infrastructure development projects in the country resulting in a dearth in development of infrastructure
This dearth in infrastructure development is reflected in the Nigerian infrastructure report card published by the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) and presented to President Muhammadu Buhari (GCON) who was represented by Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, Minister for Science and Technology, at the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) investiture ceremony for the new president Engineer Adekunle Mokuolu FNSE on Saturday, January 13th, 2018.
The report card features a quantitative assessment of the state of infrastructure across selected industries and the overall summary of the assessment rates the state of infrastructure in the country
“Not fit for Purpose”
The Nigerian Infrastructure Report card uses the Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) to rate infrastructure. The CGPA grade system grades each category between 0.1-5.0, 5.0 being the highest achievable grade.
Comparison was also made with ratings from the previous edition (2015) to show areas where progress has been made or otherwise show decline.
According to the NSE report card, there has been a decline in the state of Nigeria’s infrastructure. This is in spite of the increased budget allocation to infrastructure development.
At 1.24 … Security has lowest rating on the scale.
Transportation and education infrastructure when compared to last previous ratings dropped from 2.32-1.64 and 2.14-1.44 respectively. There was also decline in oil and gas infrastructure from a rating of 2.04-1.98.
The electric and power infrastructure, which represents power generation transmission and distribution, dropped from 2.16-1.36.
The present state of Nigeria’s infrastructure is regressive; this cuts across political, economic, social, transport, environment, power and safety issues. The country is equally dealing with issues on poverty, inflation, security, and poor technological environment to be used in project execution.
Regarding the country’s transport/road system, Nigeria can boast of extensive infrastructure of road, railroads, airport and communication network. According to National Planning Committee (NPC), the road system is the most important element in the country’s transportation network, carrying about 95% of all the nation’s goods and passengers; however, many of the roads are in a state of disrepair due to poor maintenance and years of heavy traffic, leading to persistent rise in accidents and death tolls on roads across the country.
Addressing the country’s electric power infrastructure, the report shows that it suffers from stunning shortage of power. Nigeria’s power sector shows little progress and power infrastructure is inadequate and dilapidated.
Issues that have led to Nigeria’s power shortage include overuse and poor maintenance of existing electricity assets, significant power infrastructure deficits, inadequate management capabilities and death of technical skills. Nigerian citizens and businesses that are on the grid cope with daily power blackouts.
Another critical infrastructure, which was examined by the NSE, was the education infrastructure. The reality of the country’s education infrastructure is that the state of catastrophe it has fallen into, springs no knee-jerk reaction. Government’s development priorities are not only expressed in what it allocates funds to, vis-à-vis what it overlooks, hence government (state and federal) owned educational institutions and it’s built infrastructure are less developed, misused, and quickly slip into deplorable states.
The report’s perspicacity on Oil and gas infrastructure, deduced that the country’s infrastructure was in a poor state and a verge of failure. Nigeria barely has the basic facilities to run this industry, as the government underfunds the sector. For example, though most of Nigeria’s oil comes from the Niger Delta, the region has remained unstable with periodic attacks on oil facilities and pipelines and staff of oil companies.
A way forward
As Nigeria straggles on the path to sustainable infrastructure as is seen in the report, some of the engineers who were a part of the study, gave their perspective on how the country’s infrastructure deficit can be tackled
Engr Femi Akintunde, Group Managing Director, Alpha Mead Group, said the credibility and transparency of government funding and application for infrastructure development needs to go up, so as to attract the right investors. He went further to aver that the government should consider having a standing commission for infrastructure development and implementation in Nigeria.
Engr. Callistus N. Njoku a member of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) stated that there should be a holistic approach in changing ways of operation in industry, making enablement of plans and maintenance culture possible also Engr. J. O. Igbinoba concluded with the assertion that more refineries should be built, distribution systems by construction of rails line that can move petroleum products to any part of the country in the shortest possible time should be improved.