An oil magnate, Dr. Emeka Okwuosa, says the Federal Government needs to invest over three trillion dollars on infrastructure development in the next 20 years for positive impacts in various sectors of the nation’s economy.
Okwuosa, who is the Chairman, Oilserve Group, spoke in a paper entitled: “Infrastructural Development: A Key to Economic Growth and Development in Nigeria, which he presented at the 48th Convocation of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka.
Okwuosa, in his paper made available to newsmen in Lagos on Sunday, said such investment would help to optimise the collective contributions from operators in various sectors.
According to him, the World Bank ranks Nigeria lowly as viable destinations for doing business as a result of poor state of infrastructure.
He said: “The 2017 World Economic Forum Report ranks Nigeria, out of 137 countries, as follows: Roads Quality: 127th, Airport Quality: 125th, Electricity Supply: 132nd, education system: 120th, Mathematics & Science: 118th and Innovation: 112th.
“How do we respond to these negative and retrogressive occurrences? Nigeria needs to invest over three trillion dollars in infrastructure over the next 20 years.
“Where can we source for this funding? It is evident that government alone cannot provide these resources.”
The oil magnate said that the Federal Government must without delay leverage the private sector capital in a variety of ways such as creating special purpose vehicles for financing creations and drive.
The chairman urged the government to strengthen the public-private partnerships development template to cover greater grounds in the country’s development mileage.
He also said that ensuring the investment of funds with a variety of guaranty plans and arrangements could go along away to attract the private sector.
Okwuosa said the government’s key role could be to create and sustain an enabling environment by deploying instruments like the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority.
Okwuosa said the National Sovereign Wealth Fund should be allowed to act as a catalyst for the provision of funding needed for development.
He said: “The government and the private sector must, as a matter of urgency, respond to these deficiencies in the economy by accelerating infrastructure development.
“By this, I specifically refer to power, roads, rail, ports, and telecommunication (especially broadband technologies).
“Also, equally important and in alignment, is the development and implementation of the legal and regulatory frameworks and environment and all other related processes that will enhance the ease of doing business in Nigeria.
“Today, the total value of Nigeria’s infrastructure stock (road, rail, power, airports, waterways, telecommunications, and seaports) represents only 35 per cent of Gross Domestic Products.
“ In consideration and comparison to other peer emerging markets countries whose average is 70 per cent of GDP, Nigeria is way below expectation for an appreciable development for economic growth and prosperity.”
He also said the massive under-investment in infrastructure development had remained the bane of the nation’s vision of becoming a top 20 economy by the year 2020.
He said: “In reality, the present infrastructure deficit in Nigeria would continue to adversely impact on its economic growth, if not quickly checked.”
Credit: The Eagle Online