Nigeria needs to build and provide two million housing units every year to bridge its 17 million housing-unit deficit, says Henry Egbiki, regional manager for Africa, Ernst & Young.
He said, “Infrastructural gap in Nigeria is huge. If you look at the power sector, the amount of investment that we need to make in the sector alone to get to where we should be is massive, including our roads, railway and housing.”
He added that a lot of funds are required and the financial services sector has a critical role to play in ensuring that the country has alternative sources of funds to invest in these sectors.
Egbiki, who spoke on the sidelines of the company’s Financial Services Strategic Forum last Thursday which focused on ‘Fresh Perspectives on Growing Financial Services in West Africa’, stressed the need for financial services companies to play a very significant role in driving economic development in the country.
In its recent report, ‘Turning Risks and Opportunities into Results in Africa’, the international professional services firm had said that poor infrastructure was an inhibitor of growth and a key risk to doing business successfully across Africa, adding that the gap was particularly noticeable in terms of power generation capacity, the density of paved roads, and, to some extent, in communications technology.
“For us, it is about the role the financial sector plays in the development of the economy. In the last few years, specifically starting from 2009, we saw how the financial crisis played out and the impact it had on various economies, including Nigeria. So, for us in Ernst & Young, we take it as our responsibility to engage with all the stakeholders and to ensure that we make our contribution to ensure that we have a solid financial sector,” said Egbiki.
Continuing, he said, “We have learnt a lot of lessons in the last few years and we need to ensure that we embed these lessons in our operating culture, and that going forward, we do not drop them because the financial services sector plays a very significant role in the economic development of any country.”