Government ready to tackle Nigeria’s infrastructure challenge, says Osinbajo
• ICRC targets N3.2trn
• Launches PPP disclosure web portal
The Federal Government is committed to making fundamental changes that would facilitate rapid provision of infrastructure development, which has remained a huge challenge to the country’s economic growth.
This is even as the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC) says it is targeting about N3.2 trillion to scale up infrastructure development in the country with yesterday’s launch of the Public Private Partnership (PPP) disclosure web portal for transparency and accountability at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
It is similarly requesting the Federal government to increase its yearly allocations to enable the commission give the best to Nigerians. Vice President Yemi Osinbajo who spoke at the event, which also attracted stakeholders in the sector, said the current administration would specifically explore and implement schemes, especially PPP that will help to achieve the desired level of infrastructure in the country.
Osinbajo said the PPP disclosure initiative designed to enhance transparency and accountability, was coming at a time that government was poised to attract private investment and expertise as well as boost the country’s infrastructure development.
“This initiative is not only relevant but timely. I am totally in agreement with the global trend that PPP is the way to go since the government cannot do it alone. Given the huge capital layout required to address the massive infrastructure deficit in our country, the private sector is expected to play a critical role in providing basic infrastructure in collaboration with the Government under PPP arrangements. I do appreciate that the challenges are daunting and enormous but we are resolute in our determination to ensure we reap full benefits of PPPs by creating the needed enabling environment for the schemes to flourish in Nigeria.”
The Vice President lamented that several intervention programmes were initiated in the past to bridge the high infrastructure gap in the country without much success due mainly to corruption, mismanagement and outright diversion of resources meant for the provision of critical infrastructure to the citizens.
Osinbajo however, noted that a firm PPP arrangement where the private sector provides the finances would have taken care of the process.
The Acting Director-General of ICRC, Chidi Izuwah, stated that the commission’s target of N3.2 trillion also fall short of the total funds required to build a robust infrastructural needs that would be a pride for the country in the comity of nations.
According to him: ‘’Our country is challenged by massive infrastructure deficit in housing, roads, airport and in other areas and because the country is in the middle of the world, with the right infrastructure, the nation would be the hub of development in Africa.’’
The Country Director, World Bank, Mr. Rachid Bennesssaoud said that the infrastructure needs of Nigeria, far exceeds what her government could handle.
‘’The private sector is critical to respond to the infrastructure gaps, the question before us now is, how to develop more PPP projects and how to enhance communications of success stories, the legal frame work also needs to be strengthened while more needs to be done in the areas of transparency and accountability.’’
Get the latest news delivered straight to your inbox every day of the week. Stay informed with the Guardian’s leading coverage of Nigerian and world news, business, technology and sports.