British government puts Nigeria’s infrastructure funding deficit at $70 billion yearly
• Urges FG to attract private sector investors
• Presidency rallies UK’s support for development
Notwithstanding the fall in global oil prices, the Federal Government needs to source and invest $70 billion in infrastructure every year to address deficit in the country, the British Government has said.
According to the British government, this is the only way Nigeria can compete and bring in needed infrastructure developed for businesses to thrive.
Also, the UK Department for International Development (DFID), Nigeria Infrastructure Advisory Facility (NIAF) also confirmed that it is providing technical support for Nigeria to encourage private sector participation in the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN).
Meanwhile, Vice President, Yemi Osibanjo has called for further support from NIAF in government’s quest for infrastructure development.
Osibanjo who spoke at the launch of the Nigeria Infrastructure Advisory Facility (NIAF) Compendium in Abuja, stressed how NIAF was providing invaluable technical assistance across key sectors of government.
Osibanjo said: “Since assuming office in May 2015, this administration has committed to a ‘change agenda’ that tackles these specific issues. One of our key areas of focus is on revitalising the national economy. The support that DFID, through the NIAF programme has provided towards this aim has been immeasurable.
“NIAF’s goal to enhance the management of Nigeria’s infrastructure development towards power sector reform, more impactful capital spending, transport roads, climate change, and urban planning and development is aligned with and invaluable to this administration.
“As we all know, infrastructure is critical to spurring economic growth, reducing poverty and improving life opportunities for millions of Nigerians. Improved infrastructure increases job creation, disposable income, and security through equipping Nigerians to tackle the constraints holding back the great entrepreneurial spirit of this country.
“It is completely clear to me that accelerated infrastructure development is critical to sustainable growth in Nigeria. We assure our friends in DFID that we continue to appreciate our partnership with them which allows us to deliver change for ordinary Nigerians across our partnership areas. I look forward to more collaboration to come.”
Team Leader and Senior Economic Adviser at DFID, Richard Ough, who also spoke at the event, stressed the need for government to work hard to win the confidence of the private sector to come to its aide to raise additional $70 billion to boost infrastructure.
“If we want Nigeria to have the type of take-off that economies like South Korea, China and other economies achieved, we know that there needs to be a change in the kinds of investments that come into Nigeria. The capital stock in Nigeria is low in comparison to what other countries have.
“If Nigeria wants to keep pace with South Korea or Indonesia, it would need to invest an additional $70 billion a year more than it is already doing. We know that $70 billion is not a sustainable fund for government to borrow, so this cannot be achieved with public investment alone.
“The only practical way to reach this is to unleash the confidence of the private sector to invest, which will depend on how trusted the Nigerian government is on business environment and the positive signals that comes from Nigerian government,” Ough stressed.
He explained: “With the recent weakening of the naira, we know there are a host of challenges associated with that, but what I don’t hear enough about is the opportunities that this weakening of the naira may present Nigeria to resume its place as a major exporter of non-oil goods and I believe there is an opportunity in the agriculture sector. There could be a renaissance in Nigeria’s agro-processing for the export market and we know Nigeria has the potential to export.
“This relies on Nigeria not only looking inwards but externally, the international potential of what Nigeria can offer is vital. Beyond the exchange rate challenge, we know there is a fundamental competitiveness issue.”