The Minister of State for Transportation, Gbemisola Ruqayyah Saraki has urged the rest of world to care about what happens in Nigeria, noting that Africa as global issues are not restricted within sovereign confines, hence the need for cooperation beyond understanding of sovereign states.
Saraki who made the disclosure in Paris, France at the Nigeria International Partnership Forum with the theme: Building Excellence for the Future of Nigeria’s Transportation System: Reforms, Results and the Road Ahead, called on developed nations to take an interest in what is happening in Africa because how African nations tackle development through its policies and projects are not only beneficial to its citizens, but also reverberate – positively or negatively- on the global stage.
According to her, the world needs a new model of development and growth that is/will be beneficial to all.
The global community, she said, must be prepared to have these difficult conversations, “As closing the Continent’s huge infrastructural deficit is vital for the continent’s economic prosperity and sustainable development as improved infrastructure would facilitate increased intra-regional trade, reduce the cost of doing business, enhance competitiveness, create employment, and reduce the tide of illegal migration.”
The Minister of State in a statement in Abuja further noted that it was in recognition of these gaps that the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration came up with the vision for economic recovery, diversification, and sustainability hinged on the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) initiative, which focused on non-oil sectors such as Agriculture, Transportation, Industrialization, Science, Technology, and Innovation (STI).
She added that the proposed rail projects will generate sustained freight growth of an average 7.9% between 2021 and 2025.
Saraki said the government has been able to secure the Gulf of Guinea through the instrumentality of the Integrated Maritime Safety, Security Waterways and Environmental Protection Strategies otherwise known as the Deep Blue Project that involves provision of Satellite and Communication Equipment, patrolling Assets and Capacity Building for the enforcement/intervention teams.
As a result of this, “the International Maritime Bureau has severally commended this initiative and in one of its reports it noted that the number of kidnapping and robbery in the Gulf of Guinea in the second quarter of 2021 is the lowest since 2019.”
Another success story according to the Minister, is the Suppression of Piracy and other Maritime offences (SPOMO) Act, 2019; the very first of its kind in Africa of which other African nations have taken to study and replicate.
She said that in the road sub-sector, the government has upgraded the road stock by deploying innovative funding approaches for strategic road projects which include: “the Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund (PIDF) which is investing over a billion dollars in three flagship projects: the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, the Second Niger Bridge, Abuja-Kaduna-Zaria-Kano Expressway and the Highway Development and Management Initiative (HDMI) which is a public-private partnership program to mobilize,
Recognizing that women are important in the chain of production, the Minister advocated that they be empowered as, “gender inclusion are key to growth. The policies that are adopted by government must be mindful of the disproportionate challenges that women face due to infrastructural deficiencies, so that women become a critical component to economic recovery and growth.