Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, APC Deputy Governorship Candidate in Lagos state, has said that the party will address the infrastructure deficit in the area, if re-elected into power in 2019.
Hamzat, a former Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure, said this at the annual lecture of the Lagos chapter of the Nigerian Institution of Civil Engineers (NICE) on Thursday.
He said that bridging the infrastructure deficit would help to enhance the living standard of Lagos residents.
He spoke on the theme, “Bridging the infrastructure gap, the Lagos we know,” said, ” the next APC administration in the state will bridge the existing infrastructure gap.”
He said that building and preserving a mega city, such as Lagos, posed great challenges.
Hamzat, who was the guest speaker at the event, said that to meet the infrastructure need of the state required stronger financial base and innovations.
He said: “The sheer size of funding required in sustaining the infrastructure needs of the city is beyond what a government can unilaterally provide.
“This is where innovation comes in and that is what the APC government will do when we come into power in 2019 by the grace of God and goodwill of all Lagosians.
“The Public Private Partnership (PPP) involvement in the governance will not be an exception,” he said, adding that the next administration would partner with professional bodies and business communities, among others where necessary.
Hamzat further promised that the next APC government would provide more infrastructure and improve on the existing ones to support private businesses and increase the productivity of the people.
He said that there an urgent need to re-position Lagos as the ultimate investment destination for foreign businesses.
He said that Foreign Direct Investment was one of the main drivers for creating and sustaining a vibrant economy.
The APC chieftain further said that the plan of the next administration would be to build an Inter-Modal Transport System by integrating road, rail and water transportation to tackle the problem of transportation within the Lagos metropolis.
Also, Mr Robbie Owivry, former National Chairman of NICE, said that PPP scheme remained the answer to the nations’ infrastructure and housing gaps.
Owivry also said that government alone could not fix the infrastructure and housing gaps, adding that the project required the participation of the private sector.
He said, “To develop and promote PPP in the provision of infrastructure, there is a need to consider prerequisites and measures to help such partnerships to be effective and produce valuable results.
“There is a need for the creation of a more attractive, open and robust environment that encourages private investment by creating predictability in the procurement process.”
Owivry said that government needed to win investors’ confidence by respecting contractual agreements with private firms.
He further urged the government to provide special incentives and reliefs to encourage private investments, adding that confidence drives investments in any economy.
He advised that PPP on infrastructure financing should be done through a policy that would offer loans to local businesses at low-interest rates.
Earlier, Mrs Lola Adetona, the state Chairman of NICE, said that they were ready to partner with the various governments to develop the nation’s infrastructure needs.
Adetona regretted that most Nigerians preferred to deal with foreign engineers, thereby undermining the competence and capabilities of the Nigerian engineers.
She said that more than 80 per cent of construction work were being given to foreign contractors and engineers at the expense of the indigenous ones.
She said, “Indigenous operators particularly in the construction industry have the capability and competence to deliver as good as the foreign ones, if patronised and encouraged.
“Normally, construction work and contracts are supposed to be given to foreign contractors only when there is no indigenous professional that has the competence to do such work,” Adetona said. (NAN)