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Experts push for strategies to upturn infrastructure deficit

By Victor Gbonegun
23 December 2019   |   3:25 am
To improve on the nations’ infrastructural shortfalls, put at a cost of $878 billion by 2040, industry experts have canvassed that the federal

[FILES] Nigerian Infrastructure and Development Awards (NIDA) takes place in Lagos. Photo: BAIN

To improve on the nations’ infrastructural shortfalls, but at a cost of $878 billion by 2040, industry experts have canvassed that the federal, state and local authorities should deploy strategies that focus on the most pressing physical facility needs, which gives the role to the public/private partnership.

According to them, fixing Nigeria’s infrastructure deficits requires long-term investment and attention on bankable projects that would improve the productivity of the citizens.

They spoke at the Nigerian Infrastructure and Development Awards (NIDA), in Lagos, where the Chief Executive Officer, Proshare Nigeria Limited, Mr. Olufemi Awoyemi, lamented that Nigeria was technically bankrupt to fund its infrastructural gap and lacked critical thoughts and knowledge on infrastructure construction.

Awoyemi said the quest for development in infrastructure is not an asset class, but a money-making venture that needs stability in politics and monetary policy, for it to attract international investments.

He said government needs to boost the nations’ social infrastructure by creating an enabling environment that guarantees investors to recoup their funds and improve on technology as well as security in seaports for those facilities to work 24 hours.

According to him, improvement in infrastructure is critical, because it reduces the cost of overall production and promotes efficiency in business operations. He also said such focus boost research and innovations as well as science and technology.

The committee chairman for the programme, Mr. Lanre Alabi said the presence and absence of infrastructure largely determine the fate and sustainability of businesses, invariably, the health of the nation as infrastructure are the fossils that breed businesses across all sectors.

Alabi said, like other resources, funds for infrastructure are finite and being competed for, saying that it’s important for government to attract local and global investors to provide the critical infrastructure through the public-private partnership (PPP) model, to drive development.

“ It is difficult for the federal government, the state, and local government to fund infrastructure. Nigeria is not new to this. The Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission, (IRCR) has been implementing various (PPP) programmes majorly on roads to bridge gaps in this sector. So, like other nations, Nigeria is in an endless search for the creative option to funding infrastructure gaps put at billions of dollars.”

The initiative, he said was part of a deliberate attempt to interrogate the nation’s search for funding infrastructure that will be adequate and appropriate for an emerging economy like Nigeria.

The awardees at the ceremony were drawn from the private and public sectors of the economy and were recognised for innovativeness, resourcefulness, and expertise in the course of improving the present state of the Nigeria infrastructure.