By Henry Umoru
PRESIDENT of the Senate, Senator Ahmad Lawan, has raised the alarm that President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration was facing very serious paucity of funds at present.
Speaking yesterday in Abuja while declaring open a-five-day interactive session organised by the Senate Joint Committee on Finance and National Planning Stakeholders on the details of the 2021and 2023 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP), Lawan called for Public Private Partnership, PPP, to build critical infrastructure in the country.
The joint committee is led by Senator Olamilekan Adeola, All Progressives Congress, APC, Lagos West.
According to him, dwindling scares resources in the country has made it inevitable for Nigeria to continue to borrow to build critical infrastructure.
‘’The administration is facing paucity of funds, the time has come for PPP, this is inevitable, people in the private sector should come and invest; people can come and build our roads once the conditions are favourable,’’ the Senate president said.
Lawan, who noted that the government had shown willingness as well as the capacity to build infrastructure, stressed that finding the required resources had been a major challenge.
He said: “COVID-19 pandemic had negatively impacted on the Nigerian economy, crashing crude oil prices as low as $20 per barrel in the first quarter of 2020.”
Lawan said with that projection that oil prices would remain low in 2020, there was the urgent need for Nigeria to open up new revenue sources, adding that dwindling revenue sources had made it also inevitable for Nigeria to take another look at the prospects of Public Private Partnership, PPP, and other models, such as Build, Operate Transfer, BoT.
He said there was the urgent need for the legislature and the executive arms of government to work out proposals that would encourage PPP to help build Nigeria’s infrastructure.
Earlier in his remarks, the Co-chairman of the Joint Committee on Finance and National Planning, Senator Adeola, said the event would enable the Senate look at the MTEF/ FSP document very critically with regard to the benchmark exchange rate and revenue sources.