A novel initiative that provides the analytical parameters for planned allocation, use and management of nation’s land and physical resources may soon be adopted by the federal authorities to achieve balanced and sustainable development in the country.
The scheme, known as National Physical Development Plan (NPDP) is being promoted by the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing and anchored by Messrs Development Planning and Management Consultants (DPMC) as a vital tool for balancing economic, physical, environmental and social aspects of national development.
NPDP is coming to fruition after 12 years when a background study was finalised to provide the initial appreciation of the subject matter, which was followed by composition of a project support team that took tour of Malaysia and Malawi.
Essentially, a stakeholders’ meeting on the Preparation of a National Physical Development Plan (NPDP) was held last week in Abuja, that attracted leadership of professional bodies, Federal Government Ministries Departments and Agencies, directors and Heads of town planning agencies from the 36 states and the FCT as well as representatives of Non-Government Organisations.
The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Works and Housing, Mr. Ernest Umakhihe, who spoke at the consultative forum, said the ministry has been on the search for the magical key to translate Nigeria onto the path of tangible and sustainable development, adding “the national physical development planning strategy offers such hope.
“It is a unique approach, which goes beyond the urge for simple economic development to the arena of mobilising total human and natural resources to optimize production, promote integration and drive delicate balance for development at all fronts.”
He said, there is an urgent need to set up a spatial framework for implementing sectoral programmes as well as focus on effectiveness, efficiency and accountability in use of collective resource in the country.
Umakhihe envisaged that the proposed plan when completed will be holistic, inclusive and participatory as well as lay a solid foundation for federal, states and local authorities to formulate development plans and strategies as well as identify development projects in a more realistic, focused and cooperative manner.
The Principal Consultant, DPMC Limited, Onibokun Abimbola, explained that the NPDP would build resilience, resourcefulness, prosperity, sustainability, security and equity for Nigeria through a territorially-based strategy for a period of 2021-2041.
He stated the proposed document would resolve environmental problems that cut across administrative boundaries – drought, desertification and erosion.
It would also address issues that are of extreme national importance such as regional in-equality, resource conservation, war and boundary control as well as ensure efficient deployment and application of allocated sector funds.
The President, Nigerian Institute of Town Planners (NITP), Olutoyin Ayinde, expressed concern that 28 years into the promulgation the Nigerian Urban and Regional Planning law, the NPDP envisaged in the law is still a document in the proposal phase.
He however, hoped that it would serve as a springboard for other ultra-regional, regional and sub-regional scales of physical planning that are needed on the path of ordered development.
Ayinde urged the government to put in place necessary structures to assure the implementation of this plan, especially the appropriate institutional framework to coordinate all components as well as the funding to make the vision realisable.
The President, Town Planners Registration Council of Nigeria (TOPREC), Isyaku Kura, said the profession would continue to provide the needed leadership in the process of advancing the course of providing operative plan that benefits Nigerians as well as have far reaching and balanced physical and socio-economy development across the regions/states.
Earlier, the Director, Urban and Regional Development Department in the ministry, M. O. Dunmoye, said the forum was designed to bring together stakeholders to kick-start another phase in preparing a NPDP for Nigeria.
“This plan has high potentials to set Nigeria on the path of balanced, wholesome and sustainable development,” he said.