Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari has said the sum of $1.5 trillion is required by the country to build an appreciable level of national infrastructure stock and close the gap that exists in ten years.
He spoke at the COP 26 high-level side event in Glasgow on improving global infrastructure hosted by President Joe Biden of the United States, Von Der Leyen, president of the EU Commission, and Boris Johnson, the UK prime minister.
Garba Shehu, presidential spokesman, in a statement quoted the president as saying, “Nigeria is ready for your investments in infrastructural development in the country. My administration has established a clear legal and regulatory framework for private financing of infrastructure to establish a standard process, especially on the monitoring and evaluation process. We look forward to working with you in this regard.’’
He further declared that his administration had taken infrastructure expansion in Nigeria seriously, conscious of the fact that new investments in critical sectors of the economy would aid in lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty by 2030.
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‘‘There is a nexus between infrastructure development and the overall economic development of a nation. My administration identified this early enough as a major enabler of sustainable economic development and the realisation of other continental and global development aspirations particularly the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals.
‘‘On my assumption of office in 2015, Nigeria faced a huge infrastructure deficit and the total national infrastructure stock was estimated at 35 percent of our gross domestic product (GDP). In solving these problems, we embarked on a massive infrastructure expansion programme in the areas of health care, education, transportation, manufacturing, energy, housing, agriculture, and water resources.
‘‘We provided more financial resources for these policies, charted new international partnerships and pursued liberalisation policies to allow private sector participation. We introduced the revised National Integrated Infrastructure Master Plan – a policy document that ensures our infrastructure expansion projects are cross-sectorally integrated and environmentally friendly,” he said.
At the G7 leaders’ gathering, the president welcomed the respective countries for the groundbreaking plan to mobilise hundreds of billions of dollars for infrastructure development for low and middle-income economies.
Buhari also noted that the ‘Build Back Better World’ initiative by the G7 nations is expected to be a values-driven, high-standard, and transparent infrastructure partnership.
He outlined the standards Nigeria looks forward to seeing from infrastructure initiatives as well as the challenges the country had been faced with in partnering with donors on infrastructure development.
‘‘It is our fervent hope and expectations that this plan will be pursued to its logical conclusion in order to bridge the infrastructural gap between the North and South. The aim of pursuing quality infrastructure investment is to maximize the positive economic, environmental, social, and development impact of infrastructure and create a virtuous circle of economic activities while ensuring sound public finances. This virtuous circle can take various forms in stimulating the economy,” he said.
In the meantime, the Nigerian president has also called for the environmental impact of infrastructure investment to be made crystal clear to all stakeholders as this will enhance the appreciation of sustainable infrastructure projects and increase awareness of related risks.