• Tuesday, June 18, 2024
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Infrastructure deficit, weak policy holding Nigeria back, says AfDB’s Adesina

akinwunmi adesina (1)

The President of the Africa Development Bank Group, Akinwumi Adesina, has attributed huge infrastructural deficit and weakness in the implementation of the industrial and trade policy, as some of the factors responsible for the gap in Nigeria industrial journey.

Adesina said, with the huge infrastructure deficit, Nigeria requires $2.3 trillion over 2020-2043, as total infrastructure investments sum to help brace the international stock benchmark of 70% of gross domestic product.

Lamin Barrow, the director general, Nigeria Country Department at the AfDB, who represented Adesina, described the 2024 investment summit, since the inaugural summit in 2022.

“The Nasarawa Investment Summit is quickly emerging as a robust platform to showcase the investment potentials and opportunities of the state, as well as providing a forum for dialogue on policy innovations and actions that will consolidate Nasarawa position as a top investment destination in Nigeria.

“The theme for this year’s summit industrial renaissance, focusing on attracting capital for infrastructural development and entrepreneurship to drive industrialization is most apt and resonates with the demand of the time”, he said.

The AfDB President said, for the past 3 years, from 2020 to date, the annual growth in manufacturing value added was only 1%, while only 12.7% of Nigeria’s workforce were waiting for employment as at December, 2023.

“This situation, coupled with high employment rate, especially among the youth population underscores the urgency for industrial renaissance in Nigeria.

“According to the 2020 National Integrated Infrastructure master plan, Nigeria requires total infrastructure investments to the tune of $2.3 trillion over 2020-2043 and to help brace the international stock benchmark of 70% of gross domestic product.

“Of this, the energy sector require $759 billion, to transport sector $575 billion, and housing and regional development another $253 billion

He noted that the challenge was how to catalyze industrial takeoff in Nasarawa and other states of Nigeria and clogging the infrastructure deficit to unleash the huge potentials of the Nigeria economy.

“To support industrial renaissance, Nasarawa need to accelerate it mobilization efforts

“BudgIT 2023 state of the state report indicated that internally generated revenue grew marginally in Nasarawa State by 3.8% in 2023, from N27 billion in 2021 to N21.19 billion in 2022.

Adesina maintained that, AfDB is supporting the federal government to introduce an integrated a unique identification system, aimed at improving tax compliance and revenue, where states stand to benefit most in the endeavour.

He said, despite the endowment of arable lands and favourable climatic conditions, the annual base food import average is $6.4 billion from 2010 and 2020, while food export average $1.2 billion over the same period.

He observed that the summit did present an opportunity for the state to expand the food production, to supply to the domestic market and to export to other Africa countries and the world over, taking advantage of the opportunities provided under the Africa continental free trade area and other favourable market entry protocols.

He further said that the state is known for its huge agriculture potential, particularly its organised commodities aggregation system, which ensures the marketability and traceability of produce.

He said, with the record of activities, the state was already prioritizing the development of agriculture value chain in key commodities, such as rice, sesame and others

“Accelerating the development of agro industrial value chain can be achieved, by derisky agricultural actors in the value chain and attracting more private sector, and food and agro business investment in the rural area, hence why the AfDB and partners, namely IsDB and IFAD is supporting the implementation of the special agro industrial processing zones in Nigeria on the phase I that currently under implementation in 7 states and the FCT actors, particularly from the private sector, working in partnership with the state government, and supporting the development for value chain for key strategic commodities and livestock products.

Adesina said that AfDB is considering enlisting the state in phase II of the programme in Nigeria.

“Nigeria faces huge infrastructure deficits, with the financing need, estimated at $2.3 trillion between 2020 to 2043. This has inhabited efforts to diversify the production base, particularly in the non oil sector and International competitiveness for exploitation.

“The situation is not different for Nasarawa, as the state infrastructure including public transport, water and sanitation, ICT and other physical infrastructure are below the national average.

“To change the narrative, Nasarawa should accelerate efforts and to mobilize private sector investment, infrastructure development and services delivery, as this will ease the physical pressure on the state”, he stated.

He reiterated the commitment of the AfDB to support federal and state governments to improve their infrastructure, saying a vibrant and competitive private sector can accelerate diversification and boost exports.

The AfDB President, revealed that, AfDB is currently in discussion with the Federal Government of Nigeria to establish a Youth Entrepreneurship Investments Bank in Nigeria.

“This is a unique financial institution that will support led businesses, as this will complement the ongoing investments in digital and creative enterprising support to startups, particularly in the digital and creative industry.