Engineers decry absence of long-term infrastructure finance
The Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) has bemoaned the lack of focus on a long-term infrastructure finance strategy by the three tiers of government.
Speaking at the ongoing NSE 2021 national engineering conference and yearly general meeting in Abuja, a former President of the Society, Ademola Olorunfemi, observed that there is also a lack of inter-agency collaboration and coordination among responsible government officials and agencies.
Olorunfemi noted that lack of political would have also hampered progress in Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) contracts.
“There is inadequate provisions in the Public Procurement Act (2007) concerning adequate funding and financing of infrastructure projects to ensure timeous completion within planned infrastructure project development lifecycle, because the existing infrastructure funding and financing provisions of the Public Procurement Act (2007) are tied to budgetary and appropriation cycles, without recourse to other potential sources of infrastructure financing,” he said.
The NSE stressed that there must be a national development agenda that deliberately focuses on harnessing Nigeria’s strengths in science, technology, and innovation for national development by converting its national institutions – universities and polytechnics to research and development centres.
“This is what is obtainable in developed countries. Hence, our national institutions should transcend beyond just academic institutions. There should be improved inter-agency collaboration and coordination among responsible government officials/Agencies.
“The government should show a higher level of accountability to its citizenry by publishing voluntarily to the public, all money spent on projects which can be veriﬁed, reviewed or queried by the public. This serves to sensitize the public on what the government is doing or has achieved, either on the short term, mid-term or long-term basis,” it stated.
The community urged the government to identify, prioritise and promptly release funds to critical projects.
NSE stressed the need for the National Pension Commission (PENCOM) and Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC) to work together to aid project ﬁnancing and policy implementation that impact on project ﬁnancing, as well as develop local capacity in feasibility studies needed to develop successful PPP contracts/projects.
On his part, the President of the Society, Babagana Mohammed said the body is hesitant to speak on collapsed buildings because its pronouncements must be evidence-based.