Policy plans for Nigeria's road development
Nigeria’s political leaders have come under much scrutiny and been widely criticised for the state of the transport network. Much of this is due to the state of disrepair on the road network and a lack of investment in critical transport infrastructure.
Coupled with congestions in major centres – most notably Lagos – and a deficit in mass transit systems, the government has now placed heavily emphasis on investment into transport and recognised that private sector participation is critical for its success.
With plans to upgrade, rehabilitate and maintain thousands of kilometres of highway, private sector investment and cost-sharing public-private partnerships (PPPs) are seen as the best way to expedite the implementation of these plans.
Transport investment and planning is guided by the Nigeria Integrated Infrastructure Master Plan (2014-2043) and the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (2017-2020).
The Master Plan lays out long term infrastructure plans, policies and frameworks with the aim of speeding up delivery of road infrastructure among other critical infrastructure. This prioritises the refurbishment and expansion of the national highway networks including highway expansion. Importantly, plans include improvements to urban transport networks, with initiatives such as dedicated bus lanes, motor parks, and traffic control systems.
Oversight of all transport related policy and development falls under the Federal Ministry of Transport, which have responsibility for parastatals such as the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency, Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC), Nigerian Ports Authority, Nigerian Shippers’ Council, and National Inland Waterways Authority, among others.[i]
The signing of presidential decree 007 earlier this year is a significant step in the right direction, as it offers tax incentives for private sector participation in the development of new road infrastructure. There are also plans to install new toll booths on major highways, although as is often the case, this is being met by public resistance.
Budgetary shortfalls are a concern in just about every country in the world and Nigeria is no exception. However, there is steady progress being made to upgrade and improve the transport system – a move which will have a positive impact on economic development and encourage the freer flow of goods from Lagos into other parts of the country.
The Master Plans emphasises road development, and aims to provide approximately $64.7million annually to meet targets including expanding national highways and regional road networks, as well as multi-modal hubs such as rail stations, ports and airports. This is complemented by the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan which “sets ambitious short-term development targets for all transport sectors, emphasising private sector investment in new infrastructure projects.”[ii]
According to the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, Nigeria needs to invest $3 trillion into infrastructure over the next 30 years. This means something in the region of $30 billion of near-term borrowing plus finding new fundraising tools to be supported by the private sector such as PPPs and infrastructure bonds among others.
There is a significant emphasis on boosting private sector involvement. This includes the development of a capital project development framework for PPP deployment, reforming the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC) Act “to eliminate regulatory arbitrage with the Bureau of Public Enterprises and Bureau of Public Procurement Act.” Work is also underway to create a tolling policy for maintenance and tolling concessions to the private sector – these funds will be used for maintenance of other critical road networks.
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