BusinessDay

Nigeria needs N348trn for infrastructure development – Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday said Nigeria will require N348 trillion to develop infrastructure over the next 10 years, with the private sector expected to provide 85.7 percent of the amount.

Buhari, who spoke at the Nigeria International Economic Partnership Forum held on the sidelines of the 77th UN General Assembly in New York, said the fund was needed to implement the recently launched National Development Plan (2021-2025).

The president was represented at the opening session by Ibrahim Gambari, his chief of staff. He told the international economic forum that a key strategy being adopted to improve infrastructure financing was the Integrated National Financing Strategy.

The president, who noted that Nigeria’s economy was ripe for more foreign investments, lamented the low investment flows. He, however, acknowledged that more still needed to be done to improve private capital flows into Nigeria through foreign direct investment and financing for infrastructure, saying that his administration was leveraging the Integrated National Financing Strategy to address this.

“We estimate that we would require an investment commitment of about N348 trillion. Government capital expenditure during the period will be N49.7 trillion (14.3 percent) while the balance of N298.3 trillion (85.7 percent) is expected from the private sector.”

Speaking on security, the president said that investments in improving security in Nigeria were yielding good dividends, lauding the military for making significant progress in the fight against insecurity and building the momentum in reducing other challenges to the barest minimum.

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Buhari pledged the commitment of the Federal Government to further improve security in order to attract new investments and the overall economic and infrastructural development.

”We will continue to give all necessary support to our security outfits to ensure that they are able to tackle the challenge headlong”, he said, stressing that ”the advantages and disadvantages of investing in Nigeria far outweigh the challenges.”

President Buhari also declared that in spite of the global crisis fuelled by the Russia-Ukraine war, the lingering COVID-19 pandemic and insurgency in some parts of the country, Nigeria was on course to take her rightful place in the global economy.

He attributed the country’s success story to the implementation of reforms aimed at attracting foreign investments and sustained improvement in governance.

He noted that the quarterly GDP growth in Q1 2022 has been mostly driven by the non-oil sector, giving credence to the revenue source diversification agenda of the government.

Also speaking on the growth driven by the non-oil sector, the president called for investments in agriculture to boost growth in the sector

”The agricultural sector, our most important, has remained resilient in spite of security concerns, low irrigation, limited inputs, and legacy infrastructure challenges, with strong food demand bolstering growth. Growth in manufacturing reflected stronger household and business consumption on account of the reopening of economic activities and improvement in supply chains.

”The present growth in our service sector is promising. Further privatisation, foreign investment, globalisation and competition will serve to stimulate growth and competition in the service sector and the economy as a whole.

”On the domestic front, the Federal Government is taking some bold, decisive and urgent action to address revenue underperformance, and improve our operations to make Nigeria attractive for investment.

”Overall, the Nigerian economy is ripe for increased investment. But on the contrary, private capital flows into Nigeria, consisting mainly of Foreign Direct Investment, have slowed, hindering the financing of much-needed infrastructure and natural resource access projects. Our Administration is already working on innovative ways to restore these flows.

He explained that the strategy seeks to identify ways to expand the financing envelope of the Sustainable Development Goals in Nigeria and enhance the sustainable development impact of financing by seeking to integrate and align public and private financial policies, regulatory frameworks, instruments, and business processes with sustainable development.

He added that the private sector would play a significant role in the strategy.

The president also mentioned other efforts by his administration to improve the nation’s economic and development outlook, such as Nigeria’s National Development Plan (2021 – 2025) and the Presidential Power Initiative.

On Nigeria’s National Development Plan, the president stated that it was formulated against the backdrop of several subsisting development challenges in the country and the need to tackle them within the framework of medium and long-term plans.

”This all-encompassing plan, aims to generate 21 million full-time jobs and lift 35 million people out of poverty by 2025, thus setting the stage for achieving the government’s commitment of lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years.

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