‘Infrastructure deficit may cost Nigeria $878 billion by 2040’

Electricity grid

It has been projected that government’s continued neglect of the nation’s infrastructural development would lead amount to a huge deficit of $878 billion by the Year 2040.

Besides, successive governments in the last 40 years have neglected its development.

While commending President Muhammad Buhari for signing Executive Order 07, aimed at further fostering partnership between the private sector and government in infrastructure development, stakeholders have said reduction in the budgetary allocation from N2.87 trillion in 2018 to N2.03 trillion in the 2019 is also of great concern.

At the 62nd annual yearly meeting of the Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA), yesterday, its second vice president, Mauricio Alarcon, on behalf of its late president, Mohammed Yinusa, urged government to sustain the private sector as a critical partner in the onerous task of infrastructural development.

Following the huge billions of naira lost annually to the deplorable infrastructure at the ports, NECA urged government to take urgent steps to facilitate the completion of the Apapa Ports roads, the Agbara Industrial Estate road and other strategic roads in Nigeria.

Giving an overview of the business environment in 2018, Alarcon described it as very challenging for the businesses.

He noted that despite government’s efforts to make doing business easier, businesses still operated in an environment characterised by regulatory brigandage, widening infrastructural gap, inclement tax environment, lack of access to desirable capital due to the crowding out of the private sector, which accounted for closure of some businesses and relocation of some others to more friendly climes.

However, the Federal Government has assured that it is working hard to create an enabling environment for businesses to thrive.

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, who was the special guest at the meeting, noted that a vibrant private sector is a quick link for development of the economy for growth.

Represented by former special adviser to the president on economic matters, Yemi Dipeolu, he said government is actively engaging the private sector for desirable management objectives.

Noting that the late passage of the national budget contributed to the consequential effects on business profitability and productivity, NECA urged government to consistently facilitate an environment that not only attracts foreign direct investment, but also enable existing local businesses to grow and flourish.

On the outlook for 2019, NECA stressed the need for urgent policy reforms in key sectors. “It is important to fast-track the diversification programme, a market-driven foreign exchange management, sustained and significant reduction in the cost of governance, infrastructural development at the Lagos Ports, the passage of the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill, a market-driven electricity supply and billing system”.

Subsidy on the sale of PMS which gulps about N1trillion annually (far above the Federal budget for education and health at N562 billion and N316 billion in 2019 respectively) should be done away with.”

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