The Bill sponsored by Senator Barnabas Gemade (APC-Benue North East) seeks to provide a legal framework for the National Integrated Infrastructure Coordinating Commission (NIIC) and its implementing structures, and also provide for the identification and implementation of strategic Integrated Projects (SIP) which are of significant economic or social importance to Nigeria and the appointment of relevant Ministers to Chair SIPs.
In his lead debate on the Bill with the title “A Bill for Act to Provide for the Facilitation and Co-ordination of Public Infrastructure Development to ensure that Infrastructure Development in the country is given priority in Planning, Approval and Implementation and for matters incidental thereto, 2016 (SB.04)’, Senator Gemade who urged senators to support the passage for second reading, said that the bill makes provision for appointment and functions of steering committees to provide technical support and oversight for SIPs.
“Generally, it provides for practice and procedure which seek to ensure that infrastructure is not undertaken merely in a transitional manner, but in a manner which seeks to advance national development goal “.
Stressing that the bill if passed into law, will broaden the scope of funding for infrastructural development, while it would also help to improve the management of such during all life-cycle phases, including planning, approval, implementation, and operations and to as well provide for matters incidental, Gemade emphasized that one of the critical parameters for measuring economic development of a nation is the level and sufficiency of infrastructure development. “It has been acknowledged globally that infrastructure is central to the economic development of states as an employment driver”.
“Infrastructure therefore underpins economic and social development of any society and Nigeria as a country is not an exception” . The senator noted further that the Ministry of National Planning in a 30 year roadmap infrastructure development plan known as the National Integrated Infrastructure Master Plan (NIIMP) HAD PROJECTED THAT Nigeria required at least $2trillion for infrastructure development, over the next three decades.
“Investment in infrastructure is therefore an imperative for our country because of decades of inadequate National development plans leading to lack of infrastructure development in most communities especially the rural areas’.
Gemade noted that the situation tied economic and social development making it difficult for enterprises to have access to economic opportunities thereby undermining efforts to improve basic qualities of life, (health, education and security).