Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan
Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State on Tuesday flagged off the 21-kilometre Airport-Ajia-New Ife Expressway, with a spur to Amuloko at the cost of over N8.5 billion, expected to be completed in 12 months.
The project, according to him, is occasioned by his administration’s strategic ways of reducing infrastructure deficit in the state, being executed under the Alternative Project Funding Approach (APFA) towards bridging the huge infrastructure deficit in the state and the country at large.
“Our administration means business. We will drastically reduce the infrastructure deficit in Oyo State in the shortest possible time. And this is how economies work: Investors will only go where they can be assured of profits. If we do not develop basic infrastructure like roads, it will affect the cost of production, which in turn means less profit for investors. So, we cannot be seriously discussing attracting investment into Oyo State when roads and other infrastructure are in a state of disrepair,” he said.
Makinde, who performed the official flag off at Ajia junction by new Ibadan-Ife Road, cited the Mckinsey report on Nigeria’s infrastructure requirement, which said “as a nation, we need to invest over $31 billion every year for, at least, 10 years for us to bridge our huge infrastructure deficit. If we put that number in perspective, $31 billion is equivalent to over N11 trillion annually, that is larger than our national budget for 2020.
“This deficit occurred because, as a nation, we have steadily reduced how much we spend on building and repairing infrastructure while increasing how much we spend on recurring expenditure like payment of salaries.
“Therefore, if we are to put our country back on the path of economic growth, we must strategise on how to increase our spending on infrastructure. That is what we are doing in Oyo State.
“APFA is our way of funding some infrastructural projects by having the contractors fund the projects with their money while the state repays them over a period of time.
“What this entails is that the contractor carries the projects’ risk. At the same time, we get quality delivery and quick completion of projects.”