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Lack Of Right Statistics Hampering Infrastructure Development In Nigeria

Channels Television  
Updated February 17, 2014

Lack of right statistics is the major problem hindering infrastructure development in Nigeria, a research fellow with the Lagos Business School, Dr Bongo Adi, has said.

Dr Adi told Channels Television on Monday that the Nigerian government lacked the right statistic as regards the rate of urbanisation which is very important in determining the amount of infrastructure needed.

The right statistics gives the government an idea of how fast the city is expounding and this will ensure that the activities that go with the expansion is accommodated.

Contrary to the notion that the challenge Nigeria was facing in the area of infrastructure development was funding, Dr Adi insisted that the amount of funds missing in Nigeria was enough to provide the necessary infrastructure needed.

“Nigeria needs to invest about $14.2 billion annually to meet the current infrastructure gap. To bridge the deficit, it is not finance. It is a curious statement but true. When you hear about the amount of missing funds you will know that the problem is not funding,” he said.

He further explained that the call for the private sector to be involved in infrastructural development was a good one but pointed out that the high interest rate and political risk in the system was not favourable for the private investor.

“It is okay to call the private sector but right now I do not think that we have the right environment for the private sector to invest in infrastructure given the interest rate, political risk and recent reversals in infrastructure concessions. The government should provide the funding for infrastructure,” he said

Out of the $14.2 billion needed for infrastructure development, 10.5 is for Federal infrastructure and currently the country is trending at about $5.5 billion, one-third of what is required to meet the infrastructure gap.

Nigeria’s proposed budget for 2014 is about 4.7 trillion Naira. Out of it 74 per cent is for recurrent expenditure while 26 per cent is for capital expenditure, a paltry amount.

Dr Adi stressed that financing infrastructure was a serious business and called on the Nigerian government to take it seriously by ensuring accountability in appropriation of funds.

He commended the government for the master plan for the integration of infrastructure in Nigeria, saying that the plan is a very comprehensive one.

“It has plan for all the infrastructure access. Every aspect of the infrastructure – power, gas, aviation and other infrastructure needed.

The master plan laid the road map towards achieving infrastructure adequacy and the ambition to be one of the top 20 leading economies in 2020.

His point buttresses the need for public officers that misappropriate funds to be punished.