Ndubuisi Francis in Abuja
The federal government Tuesday unveiled a $10 billion private sector-led investment designed to develop infrastructure and ensure the overall social well-being of the Niger Delta region.
The proposed investment initiative packaged as Niger Delta Investment Fund (NDIF), was presented to stakeholders in Abuja at a meeting attended by ministers, governors of the Niger Delta region and chief executive of international oil and gas companies (IOCs).
The essence of the proposed $10 billion investment initiative is to shift emphasis from public sector-led mechanism to private sector driven funding option.
The development initiative was presented by the Founder and CEO of Henshaw Capital Partners, Barbara James.
James, who handed the proposal to the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Pastor Usani Uguru Usani, regretted that public funding of projects in the region had not yielded the required impact largely due to improper monitoring and evaluation.
The new development blueprint will see funds pooled together, in partnership with the federal government, from development partners, IOCs, sovereign wealth funds (both national and international), commercial banks, cooperative banks and insurance companies, under NDIF for investors to access and executive meaningful development projects in the region.
James regretted that over $40 billion public funds had been reportedly spent on the execution of projects in the region in the last sixteen years without commiserate infrastructure, adding that this led to the search for a new approach towards private sector partnership mechanism.
â€œI came here to talk about NDIF. It is $10 billion investments. The purpose of the fund is to channel private sector investors into Niger Delta region.
â€œAll around the world, infrastructure budget and business enterprises use private finances, funds from sovereign wealth fund to invest in infrastructure.
â€œSo, we want to bring that trend to Nigeria and the Niger Delta region to fast track development,â€ adding, the fund will be managed by independent managers, so that the investors will have confidence in investing in the funds,â€ James said.
In his remarks, the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Pastor Usani Uguru Usani, said there was the need for a new source of funding because the development need of Niger Delta region was enormous.
He added that the proposal would be forwarded to the technical committee to take urgent and appropriate action on it.
On the meeting, Usani explained that, â€œThis is the first quarter session of the platform for collaborating and development agencies operating in the region of Niger Delta, on which the state governments of the region are represented, international oil companies, and other agencies such as Nigerian Content Management and Monitoring Board, the Presidential Amnesty office, the NDDC, and usually, the NNPC is involved.
â€œThe essence of this particular session includes, conveying the fact that the final copy of the implementation plan is ready for presentation to inter-ministerial l committee.
â€œRemember, this work plan is not just at the development plan but essentially to execute the monetary and evaluation component of the development plan in the region, which will enable us track our development procedure process and also quality and content.
â€œOnce it is presented, at the inter-ministerial committee, headed by the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, it will then be given endorsement at the Federal Executive Council, FEC. All of us and the agencies who have endorsed that idea will follow it as a guide for development programme in the region,â€ the minister said.