Contrary to less than N5 trillion annual spending on infrastructure by the three tiers of government, Nigeria actually needs N31trillion yearly to cover present huge deficits, Doyin Salami, a Professor of Economic at the Lagos Business School said on Monday.
The expert who decried the nation’s infrastructural deficit arising from gross inadequate funding by government at all levels, raised the alarm that Nigeria may be heading for doom if the enabling environment is not given the private sector to drive the nation’s economy.
“Government cannot on its own fund infrastructure. Available statistics revealed that Nigeria needs $100bn or N31trillion on yearly basis to fund infrastructure as against the N3trillion to N5trillion being spent by government across the three tiers on yearly basis with attendant infrastructural deficit, high rate of employment and other worrying indices like over 17percent inflation rate,” Doyin Salami, submitted in his keynote address at the first anniversary of the National Assembly Business Environment Roundtable (NASSBER) in Abuja Monday.
In his speech titled: “Exploring the Contribution and Impact of NASSBER to business and the Nigerian Economy”, the Professor of Economics at the Lagos Business School asked federal lawmakers to ensure that legislations made by them impact positive on ordinary Nigerians.
Salami called for all hands to be on deck in making the private sector the engine room of Nigeria’s economic growth and development, adding that failure to do so may spell doom for the country.
According to him, about $3 trillion is required over the next 30 years to bridge Nigeria’s infrastructural gap, at an average of $100 billion yearly.
While calling for adequate protection of the private sector in line with international best practices, he said: “Private sector fund is not only welcome, but become!es an imperative. Without the private sector’s money, we are not going anywhere”.
He also tasked Nigeria’s policy makers at all levels to harmonise policies and programmes in sustainable manner, address the issue of pricing, policy somersault and fiscal and monetary policies especially high inflation rate adding that the current 17% inflation rate is harmful to the GDP and ongoing economic recovery plan.
In his remarks, Senate President, Bukola Saraki assured the economic experts that the National Assembly will continue to work on legislations that would bring about diversification of the nation’s economy.
He harped on the need for making the private sector vibrant for the needed economic growth and development.
He said: “Our legislative agenda made the issue of the economy the number one priority on our list. Our decision was compelled by the need to enable us find a way out of the circle of volatility we continue to experience in our economic fortunes as a result of over reliance on oil. We understood that our biggest task was to help strengthen the private sector to drive the economy and deepen its diversification”.
On his part, Speaker Yakubu Dogara, who described the synergy between the National Assembly and organised private sector under the platform of NASSBER as a right step, reiterated commitment towards bringing Nigeria’s “economy out of recession, and stimulating long term economic growth that is inclusive and sustainable for the shared prosperity of all Nigerians.
“For the National Assembly, it was a road not travelled before, but we were willing to embark on this journey, not minding the risks, considering the promises it held. Looking back the last 12 months, NASSBER is but a success story of novel synergy, dialogue and engagement between the legislature, development partner, the private sector, the bench, and citizens.
“The National Assembly will continue to play a central role not only in governance but also ensuring that we deliberate and act on frameworks that will improve Nigeria’s business environment through the review of relevant legislations and provisions of the constitution.
“It is my firm conviction that in order to achieve the vision/mission and core value of NASSBER, its structure and operating model must be strengthened. I have taken cognizance of the array of formidable personalities who will constitute the membership of the NASSBER Committees to be inaugurated today and I have no doubt that they will provide the strategic guidance needed to move NASSBER initiative forward. Together, we are on course to having the law as a proactive instrument to promote development and, thus, influence and change our very realities,” Dogara who was represented by his Deputy, Yussuff Lasun said.
Richard Ough, Head of Economic Development Team, UK Department for International Development (DFID), who applauded the successes recorded so far through the passage of bills critical to improvement of business environment and cost namely: Secure Transactions in Movable Assets, Federal Competition and National Transport bills.
For Nigeria to achieve the required investment and economic take-off similar to the countries like China, Indonesia, South Korea, he emphasized the need for holistic change of business environment model that can unleash unprecedented private investment.
“If we want the type of take-off that countries like Indonesia, South Korea and China have experienced to happen in Nigeria, then we are not talking about tinkering with policies at the margin. This is not about a few investment transactions. Nigeria does not need one or two more investment deals here and there – it needs wholesale change in its business environment model. Change that can unleash private investment at a scale unprecedented within Nigeria,” he urged.