Thursday, 25 May 2017

Niger State Government Partners UN-Habitat On Urban Renewal Policy

Niger State Government is to partner UN-Habitat and other global development agencies in the preparation and development of the state's Urban Development Policy (SUP), based on the National Urban Development Policy, 2012.
Addressing the High-Level Panel of Ministers at the ongoing Second International Conference on National Urban Policy at the OECD Headquarters, Paris, France, Governor Abubakar Sani Bello explained that a UN-Habitat's support would assist the State prepare what he called "an Integrated Development Plans for Minna and Suleja", two major towns in the state.
He stated that the move would include the development of improved plans, policies and designs for the major cities to become more compact, integrated, connected and socially inclusive, adding that one aim was to facilitate the emergence of a Smart New Town (SNT) near Suleja, along a proposed bypass between Minna-Suleja road and Zuba, along Kaduna–Lokoja road.
The Governor revealed that one of the objectives of the project is to decongest Suleja and provide affordable housing for the residents and commuters to Abuja, as well as strengthen and build the capacity of the state institutions in charge of the development and management of the cities.
Expressing appreciation to the body for inviting him to the Conference, Abubakar recalled that Nigeria's second National Urban Policy formulated by the federal government became operational in 2012, while the first was developed in 1992.
According to him, the implementation of the 1992 Policy, at the state and local government levels was not successful owing to lack of adequate knowledge, skills and capacity at the three tiers of government.
"These were duly acknowledged and strategies formulated for addressing the shortcomings in the 2012 Policy. However, to date, very little has been achieved at state and local government levels in the implementation of the 2012 Policy," the governor said.
Governor Sani Bello reiterated that his vision and mission for the state was to deliver all-round good governance anchored upon timeless principles of transparency and accountability, the twin attributes which, he believes, could drive the effectiveness and self-sustainability of the towns and cities.
"The current over-reliance of the states and local governments, in Nigeria, on the monthly Federal Allocation has been such that their local economic potentials have remained undeveloped with inadequate efforts at achieving internal resource mobilisation.
"Fiscal transfers from the Federation account have tended to make the management of the affairs of the two tiers of sub-national government top-down, substantially excluding the residents and other stakeholders in key decisions.
"I am convinced that we need a profound paradigm shift that builds good understanding, mutual respect and a sustainable partnership between the state government and the residents of our towns and cities. This will enable them to demonstrate local ownership and contribute resources to pay their equitable share of the cost of service provision and to instill in them proprietary pride in the communities, town and cities".
"It is against this background that my government is eager at developing the human settlements sector in a holistic, comprehensive and integrated manner through the formulation of the State Urban Development Policy. Our aim is to ensure that the resources of the state especially land for urban development is used efficiently and effectively for the present and future generations without unnecessarily depleting good agricultural land," he added.
Governor Sani Bello expressed hope that the SUP will provide an effective and sustainable basis for building the fiscal capacity of the towns and cities in the state, to be able to provide their residents infrastructure facilities, affordable housing and other social welfare amenities on a sustainable basis; alleviate urban poverty and economically empower women and youth; become transparent and accountable to their residents; become equitable and inclusive to all; and to ensure their sustainable productivity and resilience.
The Governor assured the organisation of his readiness to accommodate constructive suggestions and to share the experience of other governments to enable the state achieve its objective of creating modern, equitable, compact, integrated, connected and socially inclusive cities, towns and villages in the state.
Jibrin Baba  Ndace
Chief Press Secretary
24 May 2017

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