From Fred Itua, Abuja
Stakeholders and economists in the country, on Wednesday, put the current infrastructure deficit in Nigeria at about $3 trillion.
According to them, the huge infrastructure gap is affecting key sectors of the economy. They listed critical sectors like power, road, education and health as part of key areas where infrastructure deficit is more rampant.
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Addressing newsmen in Abuja, ahead of a national dialogue on infrastructure, expected to hold in the nation’s capital next week, Dr. Onuoha Nnachi, managing partner, DPH, who spoke on behalf of others, said stakeholders must intervene and come up with practical ways of fixing the deficit
He said the dialogue will focus on how to raise funds through the capital market to finance the widening infrastructure deficit in the country.
He said: “Currently, the infrastructure deficit in Nigeria stands at $3 trillion. This is an official document of the government. A research was done and it was submitted to the government. But whether they’ve acted on that, we don’t know.
“This is the foremost about that deals with infrastructure. We create a forum for a dialogue, where stakeholders sit down and compare notes with is happening in other developed countries across the world. In Nigeria, we are growing under hard infrastructure deficit.
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“We have also economic deficit. There is no country that has the population of Nigeria and generates less than 10,000 megawatts of electricity. Infrastructure deficit has affected our industrialisation. Industrialists are now infrastructure providers.
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“This why investors who come to Africa see Nigeria as a market and not as a place where they can produce. They produce from other countries and supply to Nigeria as a market.
“For instance, the number of seaports in Nigeria can’t handle the volume of trade we should be having. There are options on how we can finance infrastructure development in Nigeria. We have exceedingly exceed our debt profile and that’s not good for Nigeria.
“We want to use this dialogue to create an awareness on what we can do. But we see the stock market as the most viable option we can use to facilitate in. When experts and intellectuals meet, they’ll brainstorm and pass on the recommendations to the Government.
“Every infrastructure deficit is a business opportunity. Is the government willing to take their hands off and allow people from the private sector to take charge? We are going to discuss how to open infrastructure financing at the dialogue.
“The event is coming up in Abuja. We have slated a lot of experts who will brainstorm on the way forward.”