The Chairman of Oilserv Group, Dr. Emeka Okwuosa, has stated that Nigeria needs to commit over $3 trillion in its infrastructure over the next 20 years for positive impact in various sectors of the economy.
Okwuosa was quoted to have said this while delivering a paper titled: ‘Infrastructural Development: A Key to Economic Growth and Development in Nigeria’, at the 48th convocation of the University of Nigeria Nsukka.
A statement signed by the media consultant of Oilserve, Dr Ngozi Anyaegbunam, quoted the chairman to have said the investment would also help to optimise the collective contribution from operators in various sectors.
According to him, the World Bank ranks Nigeria lowly as viable destinations for Doing Business, pointing to the poor state of its infrastructure.
He said: “The 2017 World Economic Forum (WEF) report ranks Nigeria, out of 137 countries, as follows: roads quality: 127th, airport quality: 125th, electricity supply: 132nd, education system: 120th, Maths & Science: 118th, innovation: 112th.
“How do we respond to these negative and retrogressive occurrences? Nigeria needs to invest over USD3trillion in infrastructure over the next 20 years. Where can we source for this funding? It is evident that government alone cannot provide these resources.”
The Oilserv boss said the federal government must without delay, leverage the private sector capital in a variety of ways such as creating special purpose vehicles for financing creations and drive.
He urged the government to also develop Public Private Partnerships (PPP), and investment funds with a variety of guaranty plans and arrangements, noting that that government’s key role could be to create and sustain an enabling environment by deploying instruments like the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority with its arm.
He advised the Sovereign Wealth Fund should act as a catalyst for the provision of funding needed for development, adding that the government and the private sector must, as a matter of urgency respond to these deficiencies in the economy by accelerating infrastructure development.
He further said: “By this, I specifically refer to power, roads, rail, ports and telecommunication (especially broadband technologies).
“Also equally important and in alignment, is the development and implementation of the legal and regulatory frameworks and environment and all other related processes that will enhance the ease of doing business in Nigeria.
“Today, the total value of Nigeria’s infrastructural stock – road, rail, power, airports, waterways, telecoms, and seaports, represent only 35 per cent of Gross Domestic Products (GDP). In consideration and comparison to other peer emerging markets countries whose average is 70 per cent of GDP, Nigeria is way below expectation for an appreciable development for economic growth and prosperity.”
He said the massive underinvestment in infrastructural development had been the result or bane to achieving the nation’s vision of becoming a top 20 economy by the year 2020.