The long-awaited overhaul of the National Urban Development Policy (NUDP) has been kick-started and could be approved this year, if the Federal Government adopts an interim draft by the stakeholders in the built environment.
The new policy document will replace the 2012 edition, which aims to provide coordinated efforts by all stakeholders to achieve predetermined goals, and objectives, as well as collective aspirations in urban development sector of Nigeria.
The revised policy will afford the opportunity to harness the positive contributions of urbanisation in terms of socio-economic and environmental development as well as put in place a holistic approach to urban planning and management, urban service provision and the creation of jobs and prosperity;
It will also promote a dynamic system of clearly defined, planned and well-managed urban settlements, which fosters sustainable economic growth, promotes efficient and balanced urban and regional development, as well as ensures equity and improved standard of healthy living and the well-being of all Nigerians.
Specifically, the revised policy will facilitate efficient urban development, management and good governance; through improved urban planning and the provision of basic infrastructural services.
The key facts are as follows; One, ensure that all tiers of government effectively carry out their functions and responsibilities with regard to plan preparation implementation and are accountable for them;
Two, establish an appropriate financial mechanism including accountability among the three tiers of Government, Civil Society and Non-Governmental organizations (NGOs) for the implementation of urban development projects and programmes such as slum upgrading, urban renewal and implementation of physical development plans;
Three, strengthen the capacity of the urban centres to manage economic growth, inclusive social development, resilience and the alleviation of poverty;
Four, ensure greater participation of the organised private sector in urban development and enhance urban productivity and competitiveness;
Five, ensure the provision of adequate, efficient and functional infrastructure, facilities and social services in all categories of urban settlements;
Six, strengthen the existing laws, policies and programmes that are related to urban development and management as well as ensure synergy and adequate coordination among the three tiers of government in urban planning, management and development;
Seven, restructure and strengthen institutional arrangements for urban development; enable Nigerian cities to achieve adequate implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) especially Goal 11 of making cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable, as well as adopt and implement the New Urban Agenda (NUA).
The review of the policy is promoted by the Federal Government of Nigeria, through the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing. In fact, to get the buy in of relevant stakeholders, the ministry recently gathered various experts on the subject of human settlements development to a workshop in Abuja to kick-start the review process.
The forum was attended by experts from the academia, selected Ministries, Departments and Agencies, NGO’s/Community Based Organisations (CBOs) and the organised private sector, especially the leadership of professional bodies and regulatory agencies.
In attendance include President, Nigerian Institute of Town Planners, Mr. Lekwa Ezutah, President, Town Planners Registration Council, Prof. Layi Egunjobi and Chairman, Council of Registered Builders of Nigeria, Prof. Kabir Bala.
Others are President, Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers, Sir Rowland Abonta, President, Nigerian Institute of Quantity Surveyors, Mr. Femi Onashile and President of Real Estate Developers Association of Nigeria, Ugochukwu Chime as well as President, Nigerian Institute of Architects.
The workshop gave fresh focus to very wide array of issues which define the urban environment, such issues like access to land, transportation and communication, urban economy, informal settlements, urban infrastructure, financing urban development, urban security, governance, megacities and climate change adaptation. At the end, an interim draft of the revised NUDP was generated and released for further examination.
However, the groups observed that the review is necessary, particularly to accommodate some realities in urban development. They also want the work concluded quickly while a thorough implementation of the policy should be ensured.
Earlier, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing, Mohammed Bukar noted that new issues of critical concern have emerged and there are also freshly evolving issues that makes the review of the policy imperative.
For instance, the incidences of farmers-herder’s clashes, violent banditry, terrorism and insurgency have introduced a completely new dimension to issues of disaster management and resettlement. This therefore, calls for the need to reassess the effectiveness of the institutional arrangement as well as provisions for monitoring and performance evaluation contained in the document.
He reiterated that the ministry places much priority on national urban development to create the enabling environment for sustainable national growth in all spheres.