Nigerians urge FG to be prudent: N2.24trn infrastructure gap

Ngozi_Okonjo-Iweala-NigeriaNigerians have reacted to the pronounce­ment by the Coor­dinating Minister of the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okon­jo-Iweala, that a whop­ping sum of N2.24 trillion would be needed to fix the infrastructure in the coun­try, saying the statement is alarming.

Those who spoke to Daily Sun are of the opinion that if the Federal Government had started taking the infrastruc­ture problems bit by bit it would not have degenerated to this alarming stage.

One of the stakeholders, Tony Anya Okafor, stated that government officials were waiting until a problem of this magnitude would occur for them to make gains out of the rehabilitation of construction.

Okafor noted that patrio­tism has remained a great chal­lenge in the effort to build the Nigeria of our dream. He said that because of greed, nobody does anything without consid­ering his personal gains, add­ing that with the way things are going, a time would come when the unheard-of would happen and no one would be blamed.

Also, Chief John Oruya, Chairman, Ofuonu Clan in Anambra State, noted that why government finds it diffi­cult to repair roads when they are developing little potholes is because after those who would sign the contract have collected their tips, the re­maining would not be enough to execute the project.

He, therefore, urged gov­ernment to use direct labour from those who are employed as ministry staff to get the little work done. “It is good for government to increase employment by engaging those who would be hired on a daily basis to do such job. The amount they will be paid at the end of the month would not be equal to the amount the minis­try would spend in contracting it out,” he said.

Truly, the menace of infra­structural decay in the country has reached its crescendo as virtually all aspects of our eco­nomic lives are directly and indirectly affected, hence the resolve by the Federal Gov­ernment to give it a face lift.

Earlier, the Federal Govern­ment, through the Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo- Iweala, revealed that a whop­ping sum of N2.24 trillion would be required yearly to fund infrastructural facilities in the country. The Minister noted that the amount estimat­ed above is lower compared to the total capital needed to fund the Infrastructure Masterplan.

According to a report from Premium Times, the Minister said the estimate was not com­prehensive, as it was likely to be higher when the total finan­cial outlay needed to fund the country’ Infrastructure Mas­terplan is calculated.

Okonjo-Iweala, who stated this at a training programme on Private Public Partnership (PPP) organised by African Development Bank (ADB), in Abuja said over 70 per cent of the amount (N160 billion) would come from the Federal Government purse.

At the moment, she said the country’s spending on in­frastructure development was about N960 billion, showing a huge gap that needs to be filled.

According to the Minister, the gap justifies the essence of the PPPs currently being implemented by the Federal Government in various sec­tors of the economy.

She said the country was al­ready utilising PPPs in the ex­ecution of projects such as the Lekki Deep Sea Port, Lagos- Ibadan Expressway, Second Niger Bridge, etc, adding that the country would need much more in view of her great needs for growth.

She emphasised the need for the country to improve the PPP model to suit the coun­try’s peculiar needs, pointing out that the initiative must deliver clear benefits without leaving the people with diffi­cult problems.

While commending ADB for organising the training programme, Okonjo-Iweala said the country needed to refine and improve its use of PPPs for execution of impor­tant projects, which would improve the economy and deliver benefits to its citizens. -SunNews

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