From Jefferson Ibiwale, Benin
The Minister of Works, Architect Mike Onolememen, has called for a declaration of emergency in the infrastructure sector across the country.
Onolememen who made the call while delivering this year’s Prof. Ambrose Alli Distinguished Annual Leadership Lecture, said this was owing to the huge deficit of infrastructure in the country.
He called for the establishment of an Infrastructure Development Fund(IDF) to which he suggested 50 percent of the excess crude account should be remitted for the implementation of the National Integrated Infrastructure Master plan.
Besides, he called for better Corporate Governance that requires an amendment to the company and allied matters Act, that allows companies to contribute about five percent of their pre-tax income to the Infrastructure Development Fund, adding that the annual budgeting ritual and the nascent Private Public Partnership(PPP) experiment were inadequate to transform the country’s ailing infrastructure.
Comparing Nigeria with selected countries, the Minister said whereas United States of America has 6,506,204 km network of roads; India 4,109,593 km; China 3,806,800 km; Brazil 1,751,868; Turkey 352,046 km; and South Africa 362,099 km, Nigeria has about 200,000 km of roads, out of which only 65,000 km were paved in bitumen.
“The situation calls for Bold and Courageous Actions and Collaborations by the three levels of government to unleash Uncommon Transformation in our Nation. And the time to act is now!,” he said.
While reflecting on the life of Prof. Alli, Onolememen said unlike present day Nigeria politicians who amass public funds entrusted to them to build mansions, Alli devoted his life to work for the benefit of the people and had only one modest house.
Earlier, the President of Visionary Leadership Services, organizers of the lecture series to immortalize Alli, Mr. Joseph Anetor, said Alli as the first governor of Bendel State left legacies that were still impacting on the people.