Top 10 Legacy Drivers of the Buhari Era (2015- 2023)-Babatunde Fashola

Mr. Babatunde Fashola, minister of Works and Housing, made it to President Buhari’s cabinet in

recognition of his ability to show meaningful infrastructure development with resources at his

disposal. He ranks high on the President’s list of trusted personalities in his government, placed

on a strategic ministry where he is to optimise the use of available resources to deliver the

highest possible stocks of public infrastructures.

Prudence and efficiency are two key ingredients in his mandate as virtually all the funds coming

to his ministry for capital projects have to be borrowed in the face of revenue constraints. Every

kobo needs to count particularly in a situation of massive infrastructure gap the nation has

been facing.

Development of public infrastructures has lagged behind rapid growths in population and

businesses in Nigeria for a long time. The duty call to make up for the deficit fell on Fashola,

who was charged with the task of making infrastructural transformation happen in Nigeria

under the Buhari-led administration.

The government’s infrastructure development strategy is to enhance the ease of doing business

in Nigeria. The realization of an exciting business space is expected to spark off economic

growth through investment inflow.

“Fashola has pursued the mandate with a lot of passion in his conviction that Nigeria ranks

among the tops globally in terms of return on investment. According to him, the country’s key

advantage is its very active demand power, which is irresistible to serious investors anywhere in

the world.

His part in the Buhari legacy is therefore to bring about an infrastructure transformation good

enough to spur a new level of investment inflow, creating new jobs, enhancing economic

growth and advance the well-being of the people. A regime of elevated inflow of new

investments held the high hopes of achieving exchange rate stability.

The 8-year minister of works has implemented a grand infrastructure development package in

what he framed “a decade of infrastructure renewal and expansion”. He unveiled a raft of

ambitious projects, some of which are in the multi-billion dollar region to make this happen.

The infrastructure commitments of the government cover more than 10,000 km of road

network, refurbishing of bridges and public infrastructure highways. The records show both a

large number of infrastructure projects embarked upon and the inclusion of giant sized

development works under the Buhari’s government.

The ability to accommodate these projects in the face of fiscal challenges rested on new

borrowing as well as innovation. Fashola has combined borrowing for economic capacity

building with private sector funding initiatives.

He introduced Highway Development Management Initiative under which a number of

highways are concessioned to attract private investments. This enables strategic private sector

interventions through advance tax credits.

Under the initiative, companies and institutional investors are given the opportunity to identify

the infrastructure works of their choice and agree the terms of execution with the ministry of

works. They can make the investment by advancing their tax to government ahead of time.

Community targeted infrastructure development is also part of the government’s strategy in

order to impact people and businesses directly. The idea is to make beneficiary community

involvement in projects the norm in the country.

Tertiary institutions belong to this category where the ministry undertook the construction of

internal road networks in 43 federal tertiary institutions.

The campus infrastructure projects were executed simultaneously across the geographical

spread of the institutions, which has provided uniform standards for educational developments

across the nation.

Project execution was structured to empower students and impact their lives personally.

Students of the institutions, especially those in engineering/vocational related courses were

engaged on the works.

The targeted beneficial impacts were realised – the students gained practical knowledge along

the value chain of project execution and received payment for involvement on the works. This

is in line with the job creation and poverty alleviation programmes of the government.

The ministry’s national housing project followed the same pattern in creating engagement

opportunities for community members. The projects execution have provided opportunities for

both skilled and unskilled workers to be involved and make their contributions in stimulating

economic activities that impact the communities positively.