By Adeola Badru
THE Association of Professional Bodies of Nigeria (APBN), has suggested that for Nigeria to escape poverty and infrastructural deficit, Federal Government must engage Private-Public-Partnership approach, while local solutions should be found to funding and execution of projects.
The body made this known yesterday, at its 2020 Annual Colloquium tagged: ‘Oyo State Development Agenda: Strategic Thinking, Moving Forward,’ held at the NIS Building, Ikolaba, Ibadan.
The call was in response to the news of inflation in the country that has risen to 13.22%, which was the highest in the year 2020, as announced by the National Bureau of Statistics on Tuesday.
The National President of APBN, Olumuyiwa Ajibola, while delivering his opening remark at a Professional Colloquium, Distinguished Professionals’ Award and 2020 Annual Professional Assembly of the body, said the colloquium was targeted at events as they evolved and affected the people in the country.
He attributed the inflation rate to the drop in demand for petroleum products in the international market, effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on the economy as well as the effect of weather on farming.
Ajibola hinted that only homemade solutions which local professionals could offer should not be given to foreign contractors from countries where Nigeria borrowed to fund infrastructural projects.
He said: “We cannot be sating with a side of our mouth that we want to develop our economy and at the same time borrow from foreign countries and bodies who will dictate their own contractors to execute the projects, no nation can grow with that, we must domesticate our solutions to tackle the deficit in social infrastructure.”
“That is why professionals gather to advise the government, it is appalling that the inflation figure could get to that point, but remember that there is a drop in the demand for our oil in the international market, the oil is the major income for the federal government to execute the national budget and when it is affected, government’s spending will also be affected.”
“The Covid-19 pandemic also affected the economy as businesses had to be on lockdown, look also at the effect of the weather this year, many of our farmers complained of late rain and eventually there was an outpour which is causing flooding, many farms and crops have been submerged and washed away by the flood.”
“Private-Public-Partnership will bridge the gap in infrastructural deficit as many Nigerian investors and businesses will take on many projects alongside the federal and state governments, it will reduce the rate of borrowing to execute these projects.”
The Chairman, Oyo State Branch of APBN, Dr Babatunde Olatunji, said the colloquium was as a result of the need to aggregate and deploy the roles of professionals towards nation building as members’ informed opinions would guide the government to achieve success.
He added that there was a need to come up with a perfect document that he said would guide the Oyo State administration towards achieving good governance and cater to all strata of the society.
Among those that presented papers at the assembly was Mr Adetunji Adepeju who spoke on ‘Finance, Corporate Governance and Capacity Building for State Economy’, Tpl. Ademola Ajibola who delivered his paper on the topic ‘Challenges of Planning, Physical Development and Infrastructure Provision,’ while Prof. Osungbade k. O presented a paper on ‘Cross-Cutting Issues in State Development: Gender, Social Inclusion, Health and Wellness.’