By Johnbosco Agbakwuru – Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari has said that Nigeria needs a cumulative of $1.5 trillion dollars over ten years, to achieve an appreciable level of the National Infrastructure Stock.
This was contained in a statement issued by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu.
According to the statement, President Buhari gave the figure in Glasgow at a COP 26 high-level side event on improving global infrastructure hosted by President Joe Biden of the United States, EU Commission President, Von Der Leyen, and the UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson.
The statement quoted the President to have said, ‘‘Nigeria is ready for your investments in infrastructural development in the country.
‘‘My administration has established a clear legal and regulatory framework for private financing of infrastructure to establish a standard process, especially on the monitoring and evaluation process.
‘‘We look forward to working with you in this regard,’’ he told world leaders at the high-level meeting on the margins of the climate change conference.
President Buhari also declared that his administration had taken infrastructure expansion in Nigeria seriously, conscious of the fact that new investments in critical sectors of the economy would aid in lifting 100 million Nigerians from poverty by 2030.
‘‘There is a nexus between infrastructural development and the overall economic development of a nation.
‘‘My administration identified this early enough as a major enabler of sustainable economic development and the realization of other continental and global development aspirations particularly the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals.
‘‘On my assumption of office in 2015, Nigeria faced a huge infrastructure deficit and the total National Infrastructure Stock was estimated at 35% of our Gross Domestic Product.
‘‘In solving these problems, we embarked on a massive infrastructure expansion program in the areas of Health care, Education, Transportation, Manufacturing, Energy, Housing, Agriculture, and Water Resources.
‘‘We provided more financial resources for these policies, charted new international partnerships, and pursued liberalization policies to allow private sector participation.
‘‘We introduced the revised National Integrated Infrastructure Master Plan – a policy document that ensures our infrastructure expansion projects is cross-sectorally integrated and environmentally friendly, ’’ he said.
He welcomed the G7 countries for its ground-breaking plan to mobilize hundreds of billions of dollars of infrastructure investment for low – and middle-income countries.
The President noted that the “Build Back Better World” plan, an initiative of the G7 countries, is expected to be a values-driven, high-standard, and transparent infrastructure partnership.
‘‘It is our fervent hope and expectations that this plan will be pursued to its logical conclusion to bridge the infrastructural gap between the North and South,’’ he said.
President Buhari also used the occasion to outline the principles, values, and standards Nigeria would like to see from infrastructure initiatives and the challenges the country has faced in partnering with donors on infrastructure development.
He said, ‘‘The aim of pursuing quality infrastructure investment is to maximize the positive economic, environmental, social, and development impact of infrastructure and create a virtuous circle of economic activities while ensuring sound public finances.
‘‘This virtuous circle can take various forms in stimulating the economy.”
The Nigerian leader noted that infrastructure investment should, therefore, take into account economic, environmental and social, and governance aspects, guided by a sense of shared, long-term responsibility for the planet, consistent with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
He further stated that the positive and negative impacts of infrastructure projects on ecosystems, biodiversity, climate, weather, and the use of resources should be internalized by incorporating these environmental considerations over the entire process of infrastructure investment.
He said, ‘‘Domestic resource mobilization is critical to addressing the infrastructure financing gap. Assistance for capacity building, including for project preparation, should be provided to developing countries with the participation of international organizations.
‘‘Quality infrastructure investment also needs to be tailored to individual country conditions and consistent with local laws and regulations.
‘‘Furthermore, Infrastructure projects should align with national strategies and nationally determined contributions for those countries determined to implement them, and with transitioning to long-term low emissions strategies, while being mindful of country circumstances.”
Buhari called for the environmental impact of infrastructure investment to be made transparent to all stakeholders, noting that this will enhance the appreciation of sustainable infrastructure projects and increase awareness of related risks.