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Sunday, July 21, 2024

Infrastructural Deficit: Gov. Kaura is closing the gap – By Muhammad Sagir Bauchi



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In economics science, Human Development Index (HDI) is the standard criteria used in measuring the development of every economy. It is the yardstick laid down by the United Nations (UN) as the benchmark of measuring the development of an economy. The HDI captured the dynamics of literacy rate, life expectancy ratio and the income per capita. The literacy rate is measured by studying the quality of education in an economy. Life expectancy is measured by studying the quality of health sector and healthcare services in the economy. While income per capita is derived by dividing the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of an economy by the total number of its population, which will also determine the actual value of monetary expenditure within a particular economy.
That being properly understood, HDI can be used as an instrument of measuring good governance, because by studying what determines the rate of HDI, all the tiers in charge of the social, political and economic stability arrived under healthy scrutiny, including the level corruption, social security and infrastructural development.

Infrastructural development is a sensitive determinant of HDI. No doubt that education, health and general welfare are defendant upon the quality of investment in relevant infrastructure. Infrastructure, as a matter of fact, refers to provision of basic fundamental public services that could enhance economic growth and improve the quality of life. It covers the quality of transportation sector, energy, hygienic water supply, affordable healthcare system/facilities, affordable housing, access to qualitative education, flexible communication and information departments, etc.
It needs not to be said that, the role of infrastructural development as the key driver of the progress and growth of an economy and the critical enabler of productivity can’t be overemphasized. Investment in infrastructures attracts both domestic and foreign investors, which leverages generation of employment, internal revenues, eliminates factor redundancy and enhances inclusion and efficiency.

Prior to the inception of Bala Muhammed Kaura’s administration in 2019, in the context of provision of infrastructures, Bauchi State ranks among the most economically backward states, especially when compares to Gombe State, a state that was created out of Bauchi State, the former ranks high among the states with highest infrastructural development in Nigeria. As such, other economic sectors of Gombe enjoys fast growth due to their infrastructural leverage. The state is enjoying swift economic activities due to its earlier intervention and steadfast in the provision of infrastructural development. Today, construction of roads, schools, clinics, modern markets, etc. are not considered as a generational projects in the state, this is because of the advantages of the preexisting infrastructures and the continuity of the successive governments of the state to thread on a single road map. Kano state, despite being a commercial power house and possessing the largest population in the country, attracts high level of investment, and thus, enjoys remarkable economic development. All thanks to its huge infrastructural development in the state.

Unlike Bauchi State, where the case is entirely different. Previous administrations neglected the dilapidated state of the infrastructures. They focused on projects with little or no economic value to the state and with short term advantages. Value addition was a myth, under-utilization was prevalent and unsustainable consumption-driven expenditure was endemic. Markets were inept, healthcare system and facilities were poor and education sector is almost beyond redemption. It was a case of willful negligence and misappropriation. Until the inception of the present administration, which exhibits a strong political will to eradicate this prevalent problem from its root, act efficiently to boost the levers of economic growth and to instill a new culture of purposeful and effective leadership.

The Kaura’s administration is making a real impact on all sectors. Its strategy is akin to what development economists call “Balanced Model” from the way it aims at boosting all the infrastructural sectors simultaneously. Beginning with the transportation sector, the administration continued/initiated several road projects in which some are completed (i.e Federal Lowcost-Railway Roundabout Road, Bakin Kura-Malam Goje Street) while some are in their completion stage. And not exuberantly, rather with elements of strategy being put in place, the most vivid being the projects getting carried in the remote areas which are in dare need and whose economic significance can’t be overemphasized. Moreover, hundreds or more than thousand Keke NAPEP tricycles were distributed by the state government to unions of road/transport workers to as apart of economic empowerment/stimulant and revitalization of the sector.

The Aggressive Transportation Development Agenda:

A prime example of a remote area road project is the one connecting Bogoro and Tafawa Balewa local governments. The People in Boi and Tafshin, which are locations within the two local governments, they are areas experiencing difficulties in crossing the river that connects the two local governments, so much difficulty to the extent that movement during the rainy season, movement of goods and services from Tapshin to the other end attracts heavy cost. In dry season, the only means of commuting is by foot – people walking a whole stretch of nearly 16kms to reach their desired destinations. Fortunately, the current administration, in its determination to close the gaps in infrastructural deficits, is constructing a road that could ease that hardship and means of transportation. As such, they can move easily without hitch.

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Itas and Gadau are towns situated in the Northern part of the state. The road leading to these towns has an infamous history of toughness and negligence by the previous administrations. Distance between the towns is only 24.5kms. But due to lack of accessible road, travelling from Gadau to Itas metamorphosed to a total of 78kms, almost quadrupling the number of its distance. People from these towns have to circumvent and cross into Jama’are local government which is about 25kms, then from Jama’are to Azare which is 32kms and from Azare to Gadau is 21kms, a hectic and unnecessary movement that hinders both voluntary and involuntary movements along the axis.

Not only that, there are at least ten villages along these two towns. From its North is Gulmo, Baushe, Shafada, Beguwa, Mazai, Damatsa and Baragwan villages. And from the South are Lutai, Gamjin Gabas and Gamjin Yamma villages. All the villages are traditionally linked and thus shall have direct access to Itas and Gadau. More important is the fact that, the largest population of these villages are farmers. Transporting their agro-products is of paramount importance, but poor road connection hinders them from doing so. This is a clear case of unnecessary economic disaster. The nearest primary health care facility that these villagers can access to take their sick ones is situated in the town of Itas or Gadau, but due to poor road connections, they have nothing to do other than to resort to traditional medicine hubs, assuming if there is any within their reach. The main Campus of Bauchi State University is situated in Gadau, even though, the locals around Gadau are willing to further their study, but majority of them are not willing to relocate permanently. There are many whom, due to this poor road connection, had to give up their dreams and live in denial, and also, remain in abject poverty.

Unfortunately, the dilemma passed all the military and civilian governments of Bauchi State, with only that of Late Abubakar Tatari Ali, of blessed memory, being on record of making an effort to build a bridge to ease the suffering of these villagers. His predecessors and successors had made little or no effort towards that. Today, out of good gesture and purposeful leadership of the present administration, the contract for the construction of this road was awarded. And upon completion of this road, a lot of socioeconomic activities could be earned. The villages surrounding the two towns could have access to one another. Their farm products will be easily taken to the other parts of the state with ease, as such, they will add more to the growth of GDP of the state.
Recently, during an iftar meeting (breakfast) between the governor and the delegation of Katagum local government stake holders, the state government announced the approval of the construction of Ragwam-Magwanshi Road, construction of Bulkachuwa Central Mosque, provision of modern Fire Fighting Vehicle, plus equipments for Azare Fire Service Station, dualization of Misau Road, construction of Gambaki-Chinade Road, completion of Azare Water Project from River Jama’are, and the construction of ultramodern market in Azare via PPP.

All of these, are in the effort of the administration to bridge the infrastructural deficits in the state. During the rainy season, passing through Yakubun Bauchi Quarters, is another problem bedeviling the dwellers of that community which is in the outskirts of the state headquarters, as their fear is how to go out due to the poor road in the community. Today, their fear has vanished, because of the quick intervention of Kaura’s administration in constructing the road that would link Yakubun Bauchi Quarters to Tirwun village.
Muda Lawal Market and Central market in Bauchi metropolis are the two most important markets in the state capital, they accommodates large population of buyers and sellers. But road transportation between the two markets is considered too poor. As part of the effort of transforming New Bauchi State, a project worth of about 1.4billion was executed to make carve out new roads within the metropolis, in it, roads to these markets were included. Governor Nysom Wike, of Rivers state was the guest of honor that flagged off the ground breaking ceremony of the construction of the eleven township. All of these success story is coming amidst the COVID-19 global financial distress and the sorry state of the internally generated revenue of the state. The roads were, Gwangwan-Bakaro, Bakaro-Kofar Dumi, Malam Goje-Bakin Kura linking Muda Lawal Market a distance of 3kms, Bununu and Sade township roads, which are about 2.5kms. This is in addition to Disina township roads, which are about 1.65kms, all these includes water drainage systems.

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Employment Generation and Bridging Income Inequality:

On another hand, the goal of every economy in the world is not more than to achieve an absolute development in all the aspect of the economy. That is why Budley Seer described development as “What is happening to poverty, unemployment and income inequality “. With this, it can be deduced that an economic society is developed when it has no problem with those aforementioned factors, or can said to be on their way to development when they channel some of their resources to rectifying them. Lest we forget, the goal of macroeconomics policies in all the economy is to achieve a favourable balance of payment, price stability, full employment, bridging income disparity, economic growth and efficiency in the allocation of scarce resources. These are the standard global development agenda.

In a near future, construction of Kauran Bauchi GSM Village is another milestone project to bridge the infrastructural gap in Bauchi state. For, when the work is done, more than three thousand youth could be lifted out of the economic isolation. In another swift action towards bridging the gap between the high and low income earners, last year, the state government awarded the contract of building 2500 houses in the six geopolitical areas of the state. After completion, the houses would provide shelter to both the low income and middle income earners. The aftermath of providing these housing scheme is that, problem of affordable housing will be rectified in no time. The fascinating allocation of the state’s scarce resources efficiently by the government carries on, by adopting the infrastructural strategy. By these, the administration is strategically tackling a future economic and security crisis that may occur due to unemployment and lack of affordable shelter.

Attitude Towards Human Development:

On the education sector which the classical economists regarded as one of the factors of development and the United Nation listed it as one of the factors considered part of Human Development Indices (HDI), Bauchi state government under Kaura has constructed quite a number of new blocks of classrooms and renovated many that were previously unattended. For instance, Dutsen Tanshi and Nasarawa Primary School were left at the mercy of criminals and their host communities. The state took drastic measures in terms of given the schools it’s full attention. Today, these schools are renovated and fenced to standard. From the angle of life expectancy, the state government is in full gear, thereby providing modern primary healthcare services with modern machineries and equipment, and also, mass awareness on the importance of monthly/weekly visitation to hospitals for pregnancy related checkup and nutrition.
These developments are taking place in a state situated in the North Eastern part of the country, a region plunged in chaos of unprecedented high number of out of school children and Boko Haram terrorism. It is on record that, as recently as last April, H.E Bala Kaura has distributed forty eight (48) Hilux trucks to all the state security apparatus, this also includes all major volunteer security outfits in the state in order to enhance peaceful environment for development, safeguard to lives of the citizens and for easy monitoring and movement of security personnel in all part of the state. Lest we forget that, the governor is the first in the North East to domesticate the Violence Against Persons Prohibited (VAPPl) Law as a state law in order to curb violence against the less privileged and gender related violations.

Lastly, where the mention is due, Kaura is not an economist by training, but his actions shows a pragmatic leader who is in constant consultation with experienced experts. His impressive record in satisfying our unlimited want with limited resources is beyond amazing. He used INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT to curb away unemployment, provide feasible and sustainable health care services, provide housing to the low income earners, and above all, provide an accessible education to all the nook and crannies of the state. Based on these records, history will forever record him as the chief architect and face of New Bauchi State.

Sagir writes from Bauchi State and can be reached via ibrahimsagir1227@gmail.com PR 07019718681

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