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By Yinka Kolawole &Rosemary Iwunze

Stakeholders in the finance industry have urged the private sector to support the federal government’s drive to finance the infrastructure deficit in the country.

They spoke in Lagos, over the weekend, at the annual conference of the Finance Correspondents Association of Nigeria (FICAN) with the theme: ‘Financing Infrastructure & SMEs for inclusive growth in the post-COVID-19 economy’.

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Speaking, the Director-General, Debt Management Office (DMO), Ms Patience Oniha, asserted that the government alone cannot address the country’s infrastructural needs, as the funds are not available.

“There must be creative ways of opening up the system to enable us to bring the private sector, where we can pool the capital to fund infrastructure. That has started with what we are doing with the road clean-up infrastructure with Dangote trying to take care of some roads. Some other private sector players will enjoy tax incentive to encourage them to participate, bearing in mind that the government alone cannot do it,” she said.

Oniha who was represented by Joe Ugoala, Director, Operational & Research Department at DMO, however, noted that there is room for more borrowing to finance infrastructure, stressing that investors have a huge interest in the country’s infrastructure development.

Former Acting Managing Director, Bank of Industry (BoI), Dr. Waheed Olagunju, called on the government and the private sector to boost the capacity of the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) sector.

According to him, “We need to build the capacity of our people; government and the organised private sector have a role to play. I believe that the government and private sector development partnership will help.”

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