Nigeria needs $3 trillion to bridge infrastructure gap – Official

Director-General of the Bureau, Alex Okoh
Director-General of the Bureau, Alex Okoh

The federal government says a minimum of $3 trillion investment would be needed if the country is to bridge the infrastructure gap in the next 30 years.

The Director General of the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), Alex Okoh, said on Tuesday the country would require an average of $100 billion per annum for the next six years to meet that target.

To determine the sectors the government would need to pay particular attention to, Mr Okoh said the next phase of the Reform and Privatisation Programme of the federal government would focus on Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) aimed at correcting the country’s huge infrastructural deficit.

Mr Okoh was speaking when he received a World Bank delegation led by the senior Economist (Economics and Private Sector Development), Volker Treichel, in Abuja.

The official was represented by the Director of the Bureau in charge of Infrastructure and Public-Private Partnership Department of the Bureau, Sanusi Sule.

The new phase of the privatisation programme, he said, would target reforms mostly in the utility and infrastructure sectors including water resources, railways airports and highways.

“Our resolve to refocus on PPP was borne out of the increasing budgetary constraints to fund the development of new infrastructure and effectively maintain existing ones; deteriorating infrastructure (dilapidated roads, schools, hospitals, etc.); higher public expectations in terms of efficiency and effectiveness of infrastructure service delivery,” the DG said.

According to him, the country’s infrastructure stock was too low for any meaningful development as “the public sector cannot afford to provide the resources required to bridge the huge infrastructural gap.”

He said the bureau is working closely with ‘key interest groups’ to develop a framework and process for implementing and managing PPP identified as the most feasible option for the government to attract private sector investments in the country.

A leader of the delegation, Mr Treichel, said the visit was part of the World Bank’s private sector diagnostic assessment of the public sector in Nigeria.

He said the bank was also looking for opportunities to provide short-term assistance to the bureau in the next three years.

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