Economic experts in the nation’s infrastructure space yesterday stated that Nigeria needs about $80 billion in financial commitment annually over 10 years to fix its infrastructure deficit.
Speaking at the national workshop of the Association of Business Editors in Nigeria (ABEN), themed: ‘Infrastructure Financing as Pathway to Sustainable Economic Development,’ leading infrastructure stakeholders in the Dangote Group and the Lagos State government among others, charged government at all levels to partner the private sector to fix the ailing infrastructure buy aiding business growth and economic development.
Speaking on the topic, the former acting Managing Director/CEO, Bank of Industry (BoI), Dr Waheed Olagunju, stated there cannot be meaningful development without investment in infrastructure, which catalyses development in all sectors of the economy.
According to him, “Nigeria needs $80 billion every year over the next 10 years to finance its infrastructure gap. And to address this, the government must partner with the private sector to provide funding for key infrastructure projects.”
Olagunju, who was also the chairman of the occasion, said, realising how critical infrastructure like road and rail transportation as well as maritime and aviation sectors are, the Federal Government through the National Development Plan (2021-2025) expected the transportation industry to generate 15 per cent of such funding amounting to N52trillion of the over N300 trillion revenue target, into the economy, even as it expects 85 per cent of resources to come from the private sector through a Public Private Partnership(PPP).
While making a case for inclusive growth and sustainable development, the former BoI boss said, good ratings are critical to making Nigeria an investment hub, urging the government to have an internationally acceptable standard and structure that financiers would be interested in, to fund developmental projects in the country.
“Nigeria must be an investment hub for investors. Let’s continue to market Nigeria as an investment destination, ignore negative reporting that is negatively affecting the ratings of Nigeria as a country. Rule of law must be right to build confidence in the system.
Our laws and constitution should not be cumbersome, should be adaptive and avoid too much bureaucracy that could distract investments. Infrastructure takes longer time between 20 to 30 years, hence, structures must be built around continuity of infrastructural projects irrespective of who is in government,” he pointed out.
In a presentation at the event, the Dangote Group, who are the co-sponsors of the workshop promised to play more critical roles in the years ahead toward supporting public private partnership that will lead to improving the nation’s infrastructure space.
Giving a keynote speech at the event, Lagos State’s Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget, Mr Sam Egube, restated the need to raise capital from all credible sources to fix infrastructure, and to also ensure that the fiscal financing structure meets international standards, such that, the private sector can finance projects without any fear of losing their money.
Egube stated that Lagos State has tried this model and found it to be working, adding that, a lot of capital projects ongoing in the state have more private sector funding input leading credence to the quality of structures the state government has, to attract financiers for its projects.