By Obas Esiedesa, Abuja
Economy experts have appraised the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) effort to set up a N15 trillion infrastructure fund through the InfraCorp Plc, and they are calling for the adoption of public-private-partnership, PPP, model to ensure its sustainability.
The experts, who stated that Nigeria needed about $3 trillion to bridge its infrastructure gap, added that the fund would ensure the country’s economic growth, wealth creation and employment opportunities for its teeming young population.
Former President, Nigerian American Chamber of Commerce and Chairman of Tricontinental Group, Olabintan Famutimi, noted that while the infrastructure deficits in the country remained worrisome and require intervention like the CBN funding, the country must tread wisely.
He expressed concern about channeling fund into viable projects with economic benefits instead of politicizing economic and business decisions.
According to him, “We have huge infrastructure deficit. We need infrastructure but it is more about which infrastructure government is working on, funding source and the conditions of the fund as well as the overall effect on the economy”.
On his part, a Senior Lecturer at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Prof. Muhammed Usman, that Nigeria spent about three percent of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) equivalent on infrastructure yearly in between 2009 and 2013.
“Infrastructural development plays a pivotal role in enhancing economic growth, improving living standards, reducing poverty, and contributing to environmental sustainability”, he added.
Also speaking, a Professor of Economics at Babcock University and former President, Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN), Segun Ajibola, noted that several hundreds of thousands of road network, rail lines, energy and power, water and others remained critical but sadly inadequate or dilapidated.
“Looking inwards in the manner being proposed by the CBN may be helpful. But then, the framework must be right. I will recommend a Private Partnering via collaborative arrangement between local and foreign interests adjudged competent in providing such infrastructures,” Ajibola stated.