A town planning consultant, Mr Olaide Afolabi, on Monday called on the Federal Government to formulate policies that would facilitate infrastructure and property development in the country.
Afolabi, a former President of the Association of Town Planning Consultants of Nigeria (ATOPCON), made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos.
He said there were huge gaps in the areas of infrastructure, power, housing and construction that needed to be filled.
According to him, investment in infrastructure will make the manufacturing sector to thrive and attract Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) that will create more jobs.
He said that the problem of housing also remained a critical challenge in the country, which required concerted effort to address effectively.
“Infrastructure may not be a factor of production, but it is a condition for higher rates of economic growth; infrastructure is the backbone of any economy, as no economy can develop in the absence of reasonable stock of critical infrastructure.
“The citizens cannot make the best use of their resources if some key physical infrastructure like irrigation, transport, and communications and support services are inadequate.
“It has been observed that rise in population and spontaneous increase in its size in most cities in the country has lead to acute shortage of decent and affordable dwellings.
“This has led to diverse urban problems ranging from overcrowding, deplorable environment and living conditions, inadequate infrastructure, homelessness, and several others.
“There is a need for formulation and implementation of good policies through the application of appropriate development strategies that could enhance optimal utilisation of existing resources.
“There is a need for renewed collaboration and commitment among the stakeholders in housing and urban development in Nigeria,” he said.
The ATOPCON ex-president said that a responsive infrastructure/housing policy must be in consonance with the existing national and socio-economic realities of the country, in order to achieve sustainable development.
“In this regard, relevant urban and housing development strategies should be identified and integrated to form part of the existing housing policies,” he said.
Afolabi noted that the existing policies should be reviewed and reinvigorated to ensure adequate infrastructure development alongside housing delivery and the overall urban development.