Expert seeks private sector involvement in infrastructure financing
An economist, Johnson Chukwu, has called for services of experts in the private sector in the management of the country’s infrastructure projects.
He noted that infrastructure development is crucial for Nigeria’s economic growth, particularly as the country seeks economic diversification.
According to him, the lack of adequate fiscal revenue to finance infrastructural development has left the economy grossly in deficit in this area.
Chukwu pointed out that Nigeria’s debt service has consistently increased from N1 trillion in 2015 to N3.1 trillion as of November 2020, noting that the government is incapable of addressing the country’s infrastructure needs on its own with such a rise.
“This has necessitated a shift towards public-private partnerships (PPP). The PPP approach is a concession arrangement. It allows the private sector to finance infrastructure development in the country, with specified agreement on the management of the infrastructure to recoup the investment.
“We need to go beyond government funding infrastructure because we need infrastructure to support private sector investment that would create jobs. The government should exit funding of commercially viable infrastructure and put a strong level of selective processes in place to determine which investment to give the highest returns,” he said.
On the nation’s revenue, Chukwu said: “Nigeria has a huge revenue shortfall, which means we have to look for funds outside the government budget. Total revenue has remained largely flat between 2015 and 2020. In 2015, the total revenue realised by the Federal Government stood at N3.24 trillion as against N3.47 trillion reported as of November 2020. There has been a steady growth in expenditure. As of 2015, the total expenditure stood at N4.76 trillion in contrast to N6.24 trillion recorded from January to November 2020.”
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