Infrastructure asset management in Lagos State has become a good practice and culture that has been prioritized by the current Administration as an integral part of its T.H.E.M.E.S. (acronyms for Traffic Management and Transportation, Health and Environment, Education and Technology, Making Lagos a 21st Economy, Entertainment and Tourism and Governance and Security) Developmental Agenda.
Infrastructure asset management is the integrated set of strategies in sustaining public infrastructure assets such as Buildings, Medical Equipment, Water Treatment Facilities, Sewer Lines, Roads, Utility Grids, Bridges, and Railways. Generally, the process focuses on the later stages of a facility’s life cycle specifically maintenance, rehabilitation, and replacement.
The Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu Administration, having realized the strategic importance of infrastructure facility management as a driver of economic growth, is adopting a proactive approach to develop a maintenance regulatory framework. Consequently, the government’s provision of new infrastructure to address backlogs from the past has not posed a problem to its holistic and aggressive maintenance implementation agenda. Good enough, effective asset management improves the function of state-owned assets, creates long term employment, and improves the State’s credit rating.
What has been in operation in the last 500 days in Lagos has, no doubt, turned the ‘Centre of Excellence’ into a huge construction site. In spite of this, however, concerted attention is being given to the maintenance of existing infrastructure facilities to ensure optimal performance.
The Lagos State Infrastructure Asset Management Agency (LASIAMA) is responsible for the maintenance and management of Lagos State infrastructure assets. The Agency has embarked upon an aggressive infrastructure rehabilitation and maintenance drive in critical public facilities such as schools, hospitals, and other such public buildings across the State.
In the last 500 days, LASIAMA has focused on Health Facilities as a key driver of THEMES- the agency has developed maintenance frameworks for Teaching Hospital, Mother and Child Centers, General Hospitals, Infectious Disease Centers etc. Each facility employs an average of 43 Nonclinical operations and maintenance direct employment, inclusive of cleaners, security, facility managers etc.
LASIAMA was at the forefront of containing the COVID-19 pandemic. It was designed for the Infectious Disease Isolation Center, which was cognizant of infection prevention and control. The design was utilized all over Nigeria after it was approved by the PTF.
The most conspicuous achievement of the Agency at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic containment drive is the maintenance of the largest isolation centre in Nigeria, Mainland General Hospital (IDH), and all other Isolation and Quarantine Centers and Hotels in Lagos (Badagry, Gbagada, Lekki) etc. It also maintained the returnee quarantine hotel for the Federal Government in Lagos.
In accordance with the directives of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, LASIAMA carried out a condition assessment of Junior and Senior Secondary Schools in the State. Thus, 60 worst schools submitted by the Ministry of Education were assessed. Following the approval of the state governor for the rehabilitation of 60 junior and senior secondary schools in the State, LASIAMA has since completed major and minor rehabilitation of a total of 53 Junior and Senior Secondary Schools. This created about 1,629 direct and indirect employment within the various communities of the schools. In addition, a framework for the maintenance of the College of Nursing and Lagos State College of Medicine was completed.
As part of efforts to improve the working environment in all State’ Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), the Agency developed a Standard and Guidelines Document for the maintenance and rehabilitation of government buildings. Government buildings are an important part of communities and intrinsic to health and success. They accommodate and facilitate the delivery of public services and enhance the quality of the urban structure and its public spaces.
As part of the regeneration of the Secretariat, Alausa, and other Public Offices, LASIAMA has started with the renovation of Block 3 Ministry of Works and Infrastructure, Ministry of Health, Public Works Corporation, LASEPA etc.
For increased safety and public order, the Agency is continuously maintaining Street Directional Signs (SDS) across several local governments. SDS has been ignored for years and there is a maintenance backlog that the government is now working to clear.
Without a doubt, the government, through LASIAMA, is doing a lot to improve the maintenance of the State’s public infrastructure facilities. This is to demonstrate the commitment of the current Administration to proper public infrastructure maintenance culture.
Obviously, investing in infrastructure asset maintenance offers outstanding opportunities for job creation and ensures that public facilities perform optimally. Thousands of artisans, as well as stakeholders in the building sector, had and are benefitting from the facility management and renovation work through job opportunities.
Also of note is the collaboration between the Agency and the School Principals, being major stakeholders on the on-going rehabilitation projects. The principals were involved in supervising the projects. That was in addition to the supervisory role of the Special Project and Facility Management departments of the agency.
While the importance of the provision of infrastructure to support socio-economic growth has been well-recognised within government, the potential of infrastructure maintenance as a powerful tool of economic growth and service delivery needs to come more to the fore. It is, thus, good enough that the Lagos State Government is taking the matter of facility management seriously.
It is important to stress that LASIAMA maintains and manages infrastructure assets based on international best practice. But then, while the State Government via LASIAMA is doing its best to preserve public infrastructure and assets, Lagos residents are urged to equally play their role by ensuring that public facilities across the State are guarded jealously, as the State has many needs to expend its scarce resources on.
In sum, Nigeria will not be able to sustain her current level of population and economic growth without enhancing its infrastructure. The era of lack of maintenance, neglect, deferred maintenance and overcrowding of public facilities must come to an end. While it is imperative for States and Local Governments across the country to understudy and take a cue from Lagos, it is vital Lagos sustain and increase its investment in maintenance of its facilities as many still require urgent attention, given years of neglect before this administration.
Musbau is Assistant Director, Public Affairs, Lagos State Infrastructure Asset Management Agency (LASIAMA).