From Amechi Ogbonna, Lima Peru
IN its effort to bridge an estimated $100 billon annual infrastructure financing gap, the Federal Government, last week, hinted it might soon establish an Infrastructure fund to further improve delivery of utility services in the country.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance, Ms Anastasia Daniel-Nwaobia, who stated this at a press conference at the just-concluded annual meetings of the World Bank and the IMF in Lima, Peru, said the idea was to facilitate government’s effort in the delivery of dividends of democracy to Nigerians.
Daniel-Nwaobia said the issue formed part of the Nigerian team’s discussions with some multilateral finance institutions including the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the Multilateral Credit Guarantee Agency (MIGA) all of which gave their commitment to support the country’s effort to deliver services that will help the country reduce extreme poverty.
She explained that the decision to set up such a scheme came off the realisation that government alone cannot meet the financing need for infrastructure in the country.
“We held meetings with the IMF, AfDB and MIGA who are already participating in some of the projects we are executing in the country. And to meet the needs of Nigerians, the Federal Government is planning to set up an Infrastructure Fund and the IMF, AfDB and MIGA have agreed to help us. We also discussed the issue of climate change, especially in the Northern part of the country and other areas in the country facing challenges of natural disaster,” she stated.
The Permanent Secretary noted that apart from funding support expected from Nigeria’s development partners, they would also be assisting the government in strengthening the fiscal performances of its agencies by helping to plug leakages in the operations of government.
It is estimated that Nigeria needs about $100 billion annually to meet its infrastructure requirement including roads, power and rail, among others. At present, it can only provide less than half of this huge bill even when all resources from public and private sectors are pooled together.
Meanwhile, President of AfDB, Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina, said the bank would be setting up a special purpose delivery vehicle called New Energy for Africa to accelerate the development of power infrastructure on the continent.
Adesina said Africa was tired of being at the bottom of the global value chain, insisting that the delivery of power to African countries would unlock the potentials in other sectors of the economy.
“Our role at the AfDB is to help Africa add value to every commodity it produces because those countries that succeed and are competitive globally are always on top of the value chain,” said Adesina.
Source : SunOnline