• Saturday, March 02, 2024
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The Liberal Forum Concludes, “The era of free infrastructure is gone”

The Liberal Forum Concludes, “The era of free infrastructure is gone”

Panelists at The Liberal Forum, a policy workshop on “Inclusive socio-economic development for a megacity: Harmonizing the roles of The Government and the private sector.”

 

Industry leaders, academia, and public officials were in conversation at The Liberal Forum policy workshop on the timely issue of development, particularly on how to finance the infrastructure gap in Nigeria. Nigeria needs to invest $100bn per annum for the next six years in order to achieve optimum result in closing infrastructure gaps across the country, the Bureau of Public Enterprises has said. The consensus was clear, based on Nigeria’s current spending on infrastructure, government cannot go it alone.

 

This becomes glaring when considering the future of oil prices, given that many western countries have begun regulating their way out of fossil fuels. The United Kingdom most recently announced its  “Road to Zero” policy that details the country’s plans to end “conventional” petrol and diesel cars by 2040. This growing trend could leave Nigeria in a precarious position as petroleum exports account for 86% of Nigeria’s exports revenue, according to OPEC.

 

The workshop touched on how private sector might step in to fill the financing gap , ant the conditions necessary for success.  Lagos hogged the limelight as an example of how Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) could chance the livability of a city. According to the International Finance Corporation, public-private partnerships (PPPs) are a tool that help governments leverage the expertise and efficiency of the private sector, raise capital, and spur development.

 

The Lekki Concession toll road is the oft-cited case study for PPPs, although not without it’s own failures. “[The concession] should not have wanted to have those three toll points, In the design stage some context was missed. That’s where you see the people kick back, said Dr. Olabisi Akinkugbe, former In-House Counsel at Lekki Concession Company.

 

Beyond the Lekki Concession Company, panelists also welcomed new, smaller sized opportunities that might interest entrepreneurs in the Lagos, and make significant impact. Dr. Ola Bello, Executive Director at Good Governance Africa, stated “The Ikoyi secretariat is a readymade park and ride facility. I reckon about 3000 cars can park there and the city centre will be less crowded.”

 

 

PPPs go a long way to strengthening the economic future of communities involved. “Until we start capturing the informal market, it will be hard to move. Just look at Okadas in Lagos. There are over 750,000 of them and they generate N850bn Naira annually. The people that have not traditionally been offered a seat at the table, need to be invited,” said Ayodeji, Adewumni, CEO of Gokada.

 

The workshop was held at Boutique hotel, Villa Angelia in Ikoyi, Lagos in partnership with BusinessDay. Organizers, the Peter Bauer Foundation (also known as The Liberal Forum, TLF) is a non-partisan economic and public policy advocacy devoted to popularising policy choices that enhance the wellbeing of all Nigerians.