The Federal Government on Thursday said it would put in place structures to ensure the implementation of the Presidential Infrastructure Championship Initiative (PICI) for economic development.
Sen. Anyim Pius Anyim, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), said this in Abuja at the opening of a two-day technical workshop on PICI.
The programme was organised by the New Economic Partnership for Africa Development (NEPAD), with the theme: "PICI as Panacea for Sustainable Growth and Development in Africa".
"The government is fully on course toward achieving its responsibilities; Nigeria is also fully in support of this initiative, accordingly it champions the Trans-Sahara Gas Pipeline Project (TSGP).
"The government has put in place structures to ensure the implementation of this project according to the timelines with the support of our partners, especially Niger Republic and Algeria," Anyim said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that PICI was a project initiative to act as a catalyst for sustainable development of regional and continental infrastructure development on the continent.
PICI was initiated in 2011 and the AU Assembly endorsed and approved the programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA).
However, the entire PICI projects are included in PIDA and are part of the PIDA Priority Action Plan (PAP); PICI was coherent and aligned with all previous continental infrastructure initiatives and frameworks.
According to Anyim, "our responsibilities is to provide visibility to the projects, unblock any bottlenecks, coordinate resource mobilisation and ensure that the projects are implemented in an effective and efficient manner."
Anyim said that the execution of the PICI projects, especially the TSGP would model best practice and create capacity for better infrastructure project planning and implementation in the country.
He said that as the population of the continent increases, pressure on existing limited infrastructure increases.
He added that existing gaps got worse as demand for rapid infrastructure development became more urgent.
The SGF noted that the lack of modern infrastructure was a major challenge to the economic development of the continent.
He said that the challenge constituted a major impediment to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
Anyim was represented by Mr Sunday Jegede, the Permenent Secretary, Political Economic Affairs in his office.
Amb. Tunji Olagunju, the Special Adviser to the President on NEPAD in an address said that the challenge affecting the pace of infrastructure implementation in Africa was the lack of effective coordination.
"The stakeholders are prevented from knowing the true status of projects implementation, secondly the inability to perform monitoring role," he said.
Olagunju stressed the need for greater transparency and accountability in the implementation of such projects.
"We should ask if Africa through the instrumentality of PICI can help to unlock its natural capital to enhance productive capital accumulation for the well being of its people.
He said that infrastructure was critical to economic transformation, especially in eliminating poverty, adding that Africa needed to overcome its present economic predicament.
He said that African States currently championing the initiatives are Nigeria, Algeria, South Africa, Congo, Niger Republic and Egypt.