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Stakeholders advocate private investment to address infrastructure deficit

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The growth of any nation is determined by the level of infrastructural development put in place for investments to thrive; hence the need for government to encourage private investments, operators have said.

Infrastructure development is a key driver for progress across the African continent and a critical enabler for productivity, sustainable economic growth and human development.

Stakeholders who gathered at forum yesterday in Lagos, said to achieve optimal infrastructural development, government needs to encourage private capital without interference, creating an enabling environment with proper regulatory framework to sustain investors’ confidence.

They said significant deficit in the country’s infrastructure is resulting in increased production and transaction costs, reduced competitiveness amongst other pertinent issues that result in the underdevelopment experienced in Nigeria.

Investment Principal, African Infrastructure Investment Mangers, Damilola Agbaje, said there is a disconnection between government and its citizenry when it comes to infrastructure, adding that government needs to facilitate private investment to drive infrastructural development.

Agbaje who indentified regulatory risk as a major setback in public-private investments on the part of government fulfilling their terms and condition, wants government to stay out and allow the private sector handle infrastructure development in Nigeria.

Chief Technology Officer, Coronation Merchant Bank, Eshiovaze Momoh, said government needs to also leverage on technology to grow infrastructure.

Momoh said the world is in the era of financial technology and the need for government to partner with local financial technology companies is crucial. These are companies that are now being powered with the ability to support financial organisations or organisations that are in the financial services space to grow infrastructure.

“Organisations are now leveraging financial technology companies to execute transactions and projects across globe.”
Chief Executive Officer, Chapel Hill Denham, Bolaji Balogun, said public-private partnership is important. The transmission mechanisms and enabling environment to ensure that capital can interact with the government is also essential.

Balogun said: “This year’s budget is only about six percent of GDP. Who is financing the other 94 per cent, is pretty much private capital. And this is why public private partnerships is required to sustain infrastructural growth in the country.

Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Ecobank Nigeria Limited, Patrick Akinwuntan, said government is making efforts to ensure private capital investment in the country.

Akinwuntan said trade and investment in Africa is on the rise. Now is the time for African to leverage through application of bilateral ideas. “African nature is indeed a product of the intention of our founders to be quite innovative to ensure that we play a leadership role in the investment and innovation for the economic development of Africa.”

Vice-Chancellor of University of Lagos, Professor Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, said the school has an entrepreneurship centre that is aimed at encouraging students to be innovative.

He said the school intends to engage successful professionals in various field to engage with students to grow capital and self independent in achieving economic growth.


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