Expert Calls for Creative Approach in Project Financing

Prof. Tunji Olaopa

Ugo Aliogo
The Executive Vice Chairman of the Ibadan School of Government and Public Policy, Prof. Tunji Olaopa, has called for more creative approach in project financing for capital projects in order to improve the huge infrastructure deficit in the country.

He also stated that the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rate which increased to 2.28 per cent (year-on-year), in real terms, in the third quarter of the year (Q3 2019), compared to 2.12 percent in the preceding quarter, was a measure of economic stability.

According to him, the expansion in the GDP showed the economy was moving farther from the recession point.
Olaopa, who disclosed this in Lagos, during the Annual Strategists’ Dinner with the theme: ‘Role of Strategy in Forging National Cohesion organised by Institute of Strategic Management Nigeria (ISMN), said there have been a lot of significant improvement in the areas of infrastructure development.

Olaopa further noted that the elements of the growth are the parameters in the Sustainability Development Goal (SDG) such as the number of school enrolment, the number of Out of School Children.

He added that the real element of the growth was infrastructure, saying there was need to examine to the extent to which investment in infrastructure was propelling greater investments that enhance capacity utilisation in economy, and minimise capital flights, “overall, what we have had is a very linear growth given the challenges we have faced.”

According to him, “The power sector is yet to resolve some basic elements that are critical. But what is important is that there is a spirited effort, so what we need is an enhanced policy intelligence to do a bit more analytics which the National Economic Team is a response to.

“What we have seen is that there is a lot of crude economics that needs to be refined; I think the government recognises that and the caliber of people that have been brought onboard. Government needs to be creative in project financing because there is a limit to how far the current approach can go.

“There are so many ways by which the country can grow, we are not harnessing Public Private Partnership (PPP) enough, then I think there are a whole lot of legislative hindrances that could prevent the right kind of capital to be attracted.

“There is a kind of push and pull approach whereas the economy of the country is improving, we need to do a lot more in tackling security because we need a lot of foreign direct investment which has something to do with the quality of human capital.

“We have a lot of highly educated people, but without skills. We have inefficient skills especially in the lower level this is why instead of employing our people most of the multi-nationals bring labourers from other places. I think the approach on employability and rescaling are sufficient enough and there is a need to rethink new strategies.

“You cannot be talking about embedding entrepreneurship in a graduate programme; it is far more than that. The nexus between investing in human capital and the growth of the GDP is that it is the level of employment in the economy that determines the purchasing power and the extent to which people can consume goods and pay tax.”