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Experts seek OPS participation to tackle infrastructure deficit

Babatunde Fashola, Minister of Power, Works and Housing.

Experts on economic matters have said that government must wake up and face the realities on ground, as it needs to invest N18 trillion yearly to meet up with infrastructure development in the country.

To achieve this, they submitted that government must give room for private sector participation, allow sanctity of contracts and open up to foreign capital to develop infrastructure in the country.

They said this in Lagos at the 2018 advocacy roundtable on infrastructure organised by the Institute of Directors (IoD) Nigeria, with the theme ‘Filling the Infrastructure Gap’.

Advisory Partner and Chief Economist, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Andrew Nevin, who submitted that the Federal Government does not have the full resources to meet the infrastructure investment required annually, called for a viable Public Private Partnership models.

Nevin said Nigeria is a N115 Trillion economy that needed to grow at six to seven per cent yearly exceeding its population growth of over 2.7 per cent.

On this, he asserted that Nigeria needed to invest N18 trillion a year on infrastructure to grow economy.

In his welcome address, Chairman Research and Advocacy, IoD, Dapo Adelegan, said government must provide the enabling environment for business to thrive.

“The issue of funding is a critical aspect to our national development. Without power, good roads and rail, our efforts to industrialisation and ease of doing business will not materialise.

“Government must play its role by doing the necessary community relations and enlightenment so that people can understand the benefits of PPP as a fast track for development, particularly, infrastructures like roads and rails.”

The special guest of honour, Minister of Power, Works and Housing Babatunde Fashola, who explained that the sector lacked enough resources to carry out its tasks, said the ministry is creating economic activities by engaging with people in various interests on road infrastructure. He said they have invested more on human capacity to maintain them.

On power, Fashola who was represented by his Special Adviser on Works and Housing, Obafemi Amzat, said the ministry is working hard to ensure there is reliable power generation across the states, adding that distribution companies must connect enough to ensure power sufficiency in the country.
To ensure the have not owns a home in Nigeria, Fashola said: “We are building, which means government must subsidise it. The reality is government must make a decision on how much discount they want to give to vulnerable people and to first time buyer. The houses are not for people who are well to do or have more houses. Building one or two bed rooms for young people is what we are working on.

“Also, we are trying to build the human capacity who will maintain these infrastructures we chose six universities for now while we still ensure others come onboard. We are building solar energy in UNILAG and others and for the department of electrical engineering and everybody involved will take ownership so that they can do their research.

“We don’t want to just keep importing these things rather we want to create economic activities right here in Nigeria. That is what is going on right now,” Fashola said.

Earlier in his welcome address, the President and Chairman of Council, IoD, Ahmed Rufai Mohammed, restated the commitment of the institute in supporting the Federal Government in achieving the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP), which gives top priority to infrastructure.

He said: “I would like to express our hope that the outcome of this Forum will   unravel   a lot of salient issues that would not only interest and assist the Government in its quest to strategically address the Infrastructure deficiency in the country but also seek   the commitment and support of our private sector and all other   stakeholders to the improvement of investment in this vital sector of our economy.”

Source: G Business

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