Welcome to another edition of Topical Thursday: today’s post is focused on the value of infrastructure on a country’s growth and development.
Infrastructure refers to the basic systems and services, e.g transport and power supply, that a country or organization needs to work effectively and efficiently. It has been identified as a major determinant of economic growth, competitiveness and general social well-being. It also plays a pivotal role in the presence or absence of foreign investment. Thus it can be inferred that how much a country invests into the building and management of its infrastructure will determine its relevance on the global scene. Every government must make a decision on how to invest, where to invest and when to invest in infrastructure whilst ensuring to meet the social benefits of its citizens.
Infrastructural development is hampered by political cycles (short/interrupted or unstable cycles does not enable the continuity and management of infrastructure), short-term investment plans, poor financing structures and inappropriate risk assessment frameworks. These factors are easily exacerbated by corruption especially in third world countries such as Nigeria. Infrastructure decays very rapidly making it easy to fall behind with documentation and maintenance. A classical example of how poor management of infrastructure can hamper growth is demonstrated by the huge number of incomplete or deteriorating structures in Nigeria. Structures built in the past that have been left to fall apart rather than preserved as national heritage sites and new structures they are ill managed, run down. Both the old and the new structures end up becoming funding sink holes as no plans existed to ensure continuity or validate necessity.
For a country to optimally explore it’s infrastructural potential the commitment of the government, private sector and institutions such as the World Bank Group cannot be overemphasised. The government must learn to manage risk better, increase its transparency and formulate effective regulation and policies to guide all parties involved. The above pictures are of a car park in London, the build has been standing for many years and has undergone several modifications before it got to its present form. Its several modification is testament to a good foundation and structure, from the pictures one can tell it’s old, but well maintained all the same.
Our government must start to think ahead, the days of doggy deals and half baked structures should be put behind us if we are to ever stand a chance in the global community. We need better transportation, better power supply (alternative sources exist e.g. wind farms, solar energy e.t.c.), health care has to be improved just to name a few. These things are not a luxury, they are the bare minimum that a government should be expected to deliver for it’s citizens. And they should not be sporadic occurrences happening like specks of dust across the nation,NO. I am talking of a widespread federal government backed agenda to integrate these changes across the country. They can start with good transportation, a very essential too for many rural and urban business based citizens. I can’t begin to explain the impact poor transportation has had and is still having on commuters health and security, take a lot at the famous Benin-ore road and my point is clarified. Why is it so hard for the government to grasp this need?