By MICHAEL EBOH
The Africa Finance Corporation, AFC, has bemoaned the slow pace of infrastructure development in Nigeria, blaming it on lack of well-structured bankable projects and lack of access to long term capital as the major impediments to infrastructure development in Nigeria and the rest of the African continent.
Mr. Andrew Alli, President/Chief Executive Officer, AFC, disclosed this at a public discourse with the theme, ‘Partnering for nation building,’ organised by KPMG Nigeria, Accenture and African Capital Alliance, in honour of the 80th birthday anniversary of Mr. Richard Kramer, founding chief executive of Arthur Andersen & Company in Nigeria.
Alli also maintained that lack of political will, inadequate policy framework, Market ability and willingness to pay, lack of institutional framework and regulatory environment are factors that have impeded the development of critical infrastructure in the country.
He further lamented that infrastructure financing is being hindered by macroeconomic structures, such as high interest rates, dependence on foreign financing and funding mismatch.
He maintained that building a 21st century competitive environment requires developing a number of pillars which include leadership at all levels, both political, socio, corporate and institutional.
He also called for investment in people, ranging from female empowerment, education, healthcare, social safety and creating an enabling policy and business environment.
Alli noted that investment in physical and social infrastructure will help ensure long term efficiencies in economic structure and framework on which the economy operates.
He noted that it will bring about a positive correlation between economic growth and infrastructure investment while it will also help improve labour productivity.
He added that investment in physical and social infrastructure will serve as a catalyst for investments and developing entrepreneurial skills and also help bridge social inequality, providing access to education, ease of movement and access to electricity.
In his own view, Mr. Peter Bamkole, Director, Enterprise Development Centre, Lagos Business School, disclosed that businesses in Nigeria, especially Small and Medium Scale Enterprises, SMEs, are constantly faced with challenges.
He listed the challenges as lack of access to: markets, infrastructure, support services, finance, information and technology.
To overcome the challenges, he said efforts should be made to stimulate entrepreneurship at all levels; promote enterprise culture, provide support for businesses among others.