Niger Govt expresses commitment to urban policy implementation

By Abubakar Hassan

Niger state government has expressed its commitment towards the implementation of the approved Niger State Urban Policy Document.

The state Commissioner for Land and Housing, Hon. Danladi Mahmud Liman stated this in his message read through the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Dr. Abdul Hussain, at a day workshop on Knowledge Sharing on the Approved Niger State Urban Policy, organized by his ministry in collaboration with United Nations Human Settlement Programme (UN-Habitat), Tuesday.

He observed that as the government was making efforts to transform the state into a socially inclusive, resilient, and self-sustaining town and city, every segment of the government responsible for the well-being of the citizens must be abreast with the content and recommendations of the Niger State Urban Policy.

He called on the participants of the workshop to use the occasion to articulate their responses and design their implementation plan according to the recommendations of the state Urban Policy document and in tandem with the vision of the government of the day.

The Commissioner assured that as the leading ministry charged with the responsibility of ensuring that the cities were functioning optimally, his ministry will continue to support the UN-Habitat and all donor agencies to achieve the objectives of their interventions, appreciating the support of UN-Habitat and the Korean government for their technical and financial assistance to the state in the preparation of the State Urban Policy Document and looked forward to more collaborations towards achieving the global agenda of leaving no one and no place behind, as well as the Africa 2063 agenda.

Earlier in his welcome address, the Permanent Secretary of the state Ministry of Land and Housing, Dr. Abdul Hussain disclosed that the state government had prepared and approved the Niger State Urban Policy with the technical assistance of UN-Habitat and financial support from the Republic of Korea.

He revealed that Nigeria was among the countries selected for the program and Niger State was the only state selected under the project Pilot phase of the National Urban Policy Programme, saying the state Urban Policy was formulated to address a series of developmental such as urban sprawl, environmental degradation, inadequate infrastructure, ineffective environmental and urban management, lack of basic services, the proliferation of slums among others.

Dr. Abdul added that since the document had been prepared and approved, the implementation need to commence, hence the rationale behind organizing the knowledge-sharing workshop so that all policy actors, urban development and management institutions, as well as critical stakeholders will begin to use the document as an instrument for initiating and implementing developmental projects, and a tool for public and political awareness of the gains to be obtained from sustainable urban development.

He said, " these documents are ready and key departments of government happen to be involved, water, works, environment, agriculture, transport, and others with the Ministry of Land as the coordinating ministry."

He further stated that the workshop also aimed at strengthening the capacity of the policy actors to implement the document and to also build consensus on enhanced coordination and harmonization of efforts amongst the stakeholders for the implementation of the state urban policy.

Dr. Abdul added that they were looking forward to seeing the document serving as a transition document for the incoming government in the state to work on, saying the present administration was preparing the ground for the implementation of the document by analyzing all the issues on the ground.

He further disclosed that the state stands to benefit a lot from the project, saying when you plan your cities well you will encourage investors and that at the end of the day we will be able to achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), especially the goal 11 which has to do with sustainable cities and settlements.

The Permanent Secretary of the state planning commission, Hajiya Ramatu Umar represented by the Director of Economic Cooperation in the Commission, Mr. Yahuza Abdullahi advised all the participating MDAs of the project to go through the Urban Policy document and see the areas that concern them and work towards implementing it, adding that they should ensure that they capture them in their next budgets.

Dr. Remy Sietchiping of UN-Habitat who joined the workshop virtually commended the commitment and enthusiasm put in by the entire team and participants, advising that such momentum be sustained.

Other participants who shared their knowledge on the already sectoral demonstration projects gave useful contributions and also advised that more platforms for interaction be initiated.

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