OPS seeks holistic approach to tackle infrastructure deficit in Nigeria

Infrastructure deficit

Infrastructure deficit

Urges govt to deepen partnership with private sector on project funding

Stakeholders in the Organised Private Sector (OPS) have stressed the need for government to adopt a holistic approach in addressing the huge infrastructure deficit, as well as identifying critical sectors that would drive the nation’s diversified base.

They also seek partnership with government to generate a pool of fund for infrastructure development and other capital projects.The stakeholders, who spoke during the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) and Bloomberg round table conference, in Lagos on Wednesday, noted that government should deepen collaboration with private sector in tackling issues impeding the nation’s growth, noting that unless Nigeria adequately addresses its infrastructure deficits, it may lag behind meaningful economic development indexes.

Specifically, the Director, Investment Banking, Chapel Hill Denham, Ayo Fashina, submitted that failure to address the nation’s infrastructure deficits would widen the development gap between Nigeria and the neighboring countries.According to him, a pragmatic and effective infrastructure funding in Nigeria required a multi-faceted approach from both the government and the OPS.

He pointed out that government should tackle infrastructure issues from a broader perspective, noting that all sectors of the economy should depend on each other for growth.“Government should target on infrastructure development because it goes on all entire economy. You need power and transportation to get the agriculture sector working.

“For mining, you need proper transport system to get the mining industry working. We have the oil still flat. Government must think of other ways to develop the economy.
“We must focus on physical and social infrastructure development and get the right infrastructure to fix power. We must focus on this now that the oil is down,” he added.

An economist and Policy analyst, Dr Ogho Okiti, identified the problems of mismatch of assets and acquisition, as well as irregularities in power sector privatisation as the major challenges of the Nigerian power sector, urging government to address the sector issues by conducting an overview of the entire value chain.“Because of the level and condition at which the power sector was privatised, it is very difficult to get result. There are problems at every level of the chain. The discos and gencos have service problems while the distribution issues are still there.

“I do not see the power situation changing very soon. The framework is in place. Government should fix the sector and ensure that they hold unto the market. Gencos should get more gas while the discos improves distribution. Government should continue to hold on to the string for the nest few years.”

Corroborating his view, a Senior Economist, Africa and Middle East, Bloomberg Intelligence, Mark Bohlung, explained that it is primarily the role of governments to initiate and execute principled infrastructure developments projects, noted that Nigeria needed to fix the power sector to attract more investment into the country. “Nigeria needs to fix the power sector. There are lots of gas stations to be used but no gas available. This is partly down to the authorities to make sure that laws are made to crack down on criminal activities,” he said.

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