By ANDREW ESSIEN ABUJA
A group under the auspices of All Progressives Congress (APC) Legacy group has stated the current administration of President Muhammadu Buhari has broken the nation’s decades-old infrastructure development jinx.
While insisting that the government has set new standards that will drive the country’s growth and prosperity, the group said government has unlocked public and private financing for infrastructure projects which have helped it achieve an infrastructure revolution.
This was contained in a statement signed by the group’s leaders, the director-general of the Progressive Governors Forum (PGF) Salihu Moh. Lukman, APC Youth leader, Mr Ismail Ahmed, former national publicity secretary Lanre Issa-Onilu and a presidential media aide, Tolu Ogunlesi.
“His administration has committed more resources to Infrastructure than any other administration since 1999. It is no coincidence that the last time Nigeria saw an infrastructure revolution on this scale was during the period, in the late 1990s, when the President ran the Petroleum Trust Fund (PTF).
“Beyond the focus on completing inherited and abandoned projects, the Buhari Administration has creatively unlocked public and private sector financing for infrastructure in Nigeria, through such initiatives as the Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund (PIDF), the Infrastructure Company (InfraCo), the Highway Development Management Initiative (HDMI), the Sovereign Sukuk Bonds (that have collectively raised close to a billion dollars), and the Infrastructure Tax Credit Scheme. Between them these initiatives cover thousands of kilometres of critical roads and will mobilize several billions of dollars in public and private financing,” the statement read.
The APC legacy group further mentioned some projects that have been completed by the Buhari-led administration.
“This week, the President will commission the 156km Lagos-Ibadan Standard Gauge Rail, the first double-track Standard Gauge Rail project in West Africa (and the first Standard Gauge Rail project in Nigeria to be started and completed by the same administration).
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“This landmark commissioning is taking place nine months after he commissioned the 327km Itakpe-Warri Standard Gauge Rail, completed by his administration 33 years after construction began. The 168km Abuja-Kaduna Rail project, and the 42.5km Abuja Light Rail project, both inherited from previous administrations, were completed in 2016 and 2018 respectively.
“The second Niger Bridge, originally conceived decades ago, is now more than 50 percent completed and scheduled for commissioning in 2022, as is the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, which has defied every administration since 1999.
“Other landmark projects being completed include the Bodo-Bonny Road in Rivers State, Apapa-Oshodi-Oworonshoki Expressway, Loko-Oweto Bridge connecting Benue and Nasarawa States across the River Benue, Port Harcourt-Enugu Expressway, East-West Road (across Delta, Bayelsa, Rivers, Akwa-Ibom and Cross River States), the new Ikom Bridge in Cross River, Abuja-Kaduna-Zaria-Kano Expressway, Keffi-Akwanga-Lafia-Makurdi Road, and many more.
“New International Airport Terminals have been completed and commissioned in Abuja and Port Harcourt, while those in Lagos and Kano are being completed. In addition, brand new Runways have been constructed in Abuja and Enugu, in 2017 and 2020 respectively,” the group said.
According to the statement, the government is achieving strides in improving electricity through solar power and Mass Metering.
“Off-grid solar and gas electrification programmes are being rolled out for homes, markets, educational institutions (Federal Universities, Unity Schools, Primary Healthcare Centers); and a National Mass Metering Programme launched in 2020 will deliver 6 million new electricity meters nationwide.
“The Administration is also enabling and supporting the private sector to invest in critical infrastructure. Finally, a brand new Deep Sea Port is being constructed, in Lagos, the first new Deep Sea Port in the country in more than four decades; while ground-breaking for a second private-sector-funded Deep Sea Port (in Bonny) took place in March 2021,” the statement read