WHY NIGERIA HAS SO MANY DILAPIDATED INFRASTRUCTURE
I have visited quite a number of Nigeria’s imposing infrastructure; from offices to hospitals to highways to government houses and many more. I can say that Nigeria has invested a lot in building up our infrastructure since Independence till now.
Today, I visited the hospital for my regular check-ups and I couldn’t but wonder how a massive hospital like that has become almost a shadow of how magnificent it must have been when it was first constructed.
In recent times, the present government is investing a lot in infrastructure; airports, railway and the rail stations, roads, office buildings and more. It is sad to say that some of them have already started wearing out and needing some maintenance work to be done on them.
Speaking of maintenance. Why do we lack that culture of maintenance? Is it that we don’t have that culture or attitude of maintenance or what exactly? Could it be that funds may not be available to maintain these things we build or we just choose to neglect them to keep wearing out?
I think it is an issue of planning ahead when building whatever we decide to build.
We need to start including maintenance costs when building such things. We might need to include it in our national budget by ensuring that every government-owned infrastructure makes provision for such.
As for structures that generate funds, part of those funds should be channelled into running yearly or biannual maintenance on them. It is not a complicated thing to do, we just need to plan for it and ensure that it is done. Let there be a maintenance budget for our critical infrastructure; from roads to schools, power plants, oil facilities, hospitals, rail, airports and transportation hubs.
The private sector can be made to imbibe the same. Those who are into business should also be advised or make it a provision of the law to have a maintenance budget for their infrastructure and building. Even if it means that the government can lend some support to the private sector all because we want our national infrastructure to look good and equally operate at optimal conditions.
For something like the roads, I know we have the Federal Road Maintenance Agency (FERMA) which is laudable but this needs to be taken more seriously. Rather having sector-specific infrastructure maintenance agency, we can have a National Infrastructure Maintenance Fund (NIMF) that will be funded by both organized private sector, NGOs, government and even individuals. The fund will also get funds from agencies of government that generate revenue. For administering the funds, it can be shared among different sectors either by percentage or quota while focusing on the ones that need urgent attention yearly.
The maintenance works can be carried out by engaging private professionals or indigenous and foreign companies. This will stimulate the economy and create massive jobs for Nigerians. Guess what, this idea of maintenance budget will also be implemented in the real/residential sector of the economy. Landlords will be made to understand that it is important they do that. So long as you collect rent, you have to make room for maintaining your property to the best standards. Government support can also come in if need be.
With good maintenance of buildings which includes places of work, our homes and worship centres, our activities in these places will be enhanced leading to more productivity and better economy.