Wednesday, 3 April 2013

FG to spend USD400million on Trans-Africa gas pipeline project

The Acting Director General, Infrastructure Concession and Regulatory Commission (ICRC), Mr. Ghaji Bello, at the weekend stated that the Federal Government would commit $400 million into the Trans-Africa Gas Pipeline project.

He said the project which would run from Nigeria to Algeria, is expected to be completed in 2018,

Bello made the disclosure in Abuja at a two- day Technical Workshop on Presidential Infrastructure Champion Initiative (PICI) organised by the New Partnership for Africa's Development, (NEPAD) with the theme: "PICI: A Panacea for Sustainable Growth and Development in Africa.'

The Acting DG said: "As a sign of commitment, the Nigerian government has made a commitment of $400 million in the 2013 budget in order to finance the project up to the next stage. And I think that is why all of us as Nigerians should be proud of that.

"Really, there would be transformation of the economy and once this is done, you will find that the issue of infrastructure will to a high extent be solved."

He said President Goodluck Jonathan had given his pledge to support the initiative as part of the country's contribution to Africa's infrastructure growth.

He said: "Let us also bear in mind that with our population which is put at above 150 million, the Infrastructure Concession and Regulatory Commission (ICRC) of which I'm the Acting Director General has been directed to try and set up funding to move the project forward.

The project, according to Bello, runs through several African countries and is expected to boost the economic activities of the areas and increase intra-Africa regional trade.

In his remark, the Special Adviser to the President on NEPAD, Tunji Olagunju, said his agency is Africa's strategy for continental economic integration and sustainable development.

"As a framework, it is anchored on a tripod of principles: African ownership of its development trajectories, partnership between people and governments and between government and private or corporate sector of the economy and the need to use the resources and expertise of Africa's natural capital for its sustainable development," he said.

Olagunju added that PICI sought promote a network of regional infrastructure projects in support of economic and market integration which is led by heads of state of African countries.

"Today there is no doubt that infrastructure is critical to economic transformation especially in eliminating poverty in our continent.

"This position has been confirmed in an independent study conducted by the Infrastructure Consortium for Africa (ICA)," he disclosed. However, Olagunju, noted that there are some challenges affecting the pace of infrastructure implementation in Africa, adding: "Firstly, there is the issue of effective coordination, whether within a country or among states, as a result of which stakeholders are effectively prevented from knowing the true status of projects implementation.

"The inability to perform monitoring role apart; there is also the need for greater transparency and accountability in the implementation of such projects, more so, because funding is typically sourced from the traditional budgetary allocations and donors financed loans or grants."

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