Ndubisi Orji (Abuja) and Chinwendu Obienyi
The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, has said that N10 trillion infrastructural bond was needed to meet up with infrastructural deficit and advance the course of Nigeria’s development.
Fashola made this known at his ministry’s budget defense on Monday in Abuja with members of the House of Representatives Committee on Works.
Speaking on his achievements, the minister the said while government was constrained to operate within the current budgetary limits, it had considerably scaled up performance, using the Sukuk Bond over which government had no allocation control.
Fashola, therefore, called for a N10 trillion infrastructure Bond which he noted could take care of the nation’s infrastructural issues and deficit going forward.
“If such is created, we can draw from it without resorting to the annual budget, but of course with legislative backing to solve our problems once and for all’’, he said.
The minister, however, expressed confidence in President Muhammadu Buhari’s willingness to sign the Road Infrastructure Fund Bill, provided” the provisions don’t conflict with existing laws governing the sector.”
Lawmakers also took the minister up on his 7-point priorities, noting that the pace of implementation left much to be desired. They said many roads and bridges across the country have become death traps – failing even while still under construction with many others still waiting for attention.
The Minister’s statement came as some economic experts at the CFO Forum and 2019 CFO Outlook Report presentation by KPMG, yesterday observed that despite spending over a $100 billion in about three decades, Nigeria’s biggest headache still remains infrastructure deficit.
They had therefore called on the government to mobilise both indigeneous and foreign investments to ensure a six to eleven per cent growth is attained.
Delivering the keynote address themed: The Nigerian Outlook for 2019, Economic Analyst and Principal Consultant, Kainos Edge Consulting Limited, Dr Doyin Salami, noted that the prospects for growth is positive albeit, the economy might witness slow growth.
Salami maintained that Agriculture must restore growth pace to or above once familiar level, while stable oil production and continuation of capital projects remain imperative, adding that interest rates is expected to go northwards with more payment of taxes, increases in cost and pressured margins.
According to him, strong personnel or cabinet, a well structured policy direction, the role of price in resource allocation, management of exchange rates and private capital to fund infrastructure will be key to determining the level of growth the economy attains in 2019.
He said, “The Nigerian Infrastructure Master Plan is a $100 billion spent every year for about three decades and we have still not got it right in terms of infrastructure. We are not even on 10 per cent and yet there are models that can get us into the right path.