Monday, September 25, 2017

Nigeria’s infrastructure needs remain acute – World Bank

Despite recent moves by the Federal Government to partner with private entities to develop infrastructure projects in Nigeria, the country ’ s infrastructure needs remain acute, the World Bank has said .

In an article written by World Bank Senior Director , Infrastructure , PPP and Guarantees Group , Laurence Carter, and World Bank Country Director , Nigeria, Rachid Benmessaoud, and made available to our correspondent in Abuja on Monday, the bank said with the right capacity and knowledge, Nigeria could do better on Public-Private Partnership projects .

The World Bank eggheads said despite a flurry of activities, the nation’ s PPP infrastructure sector is yet to make the desirable impact because some of the projects are pushed out hastily ; others are poorly structured while some others are mired in disputes.

They said , “ Nigeria’ s infrastructure needs remain acute . The country needs more railways, roads , and ports to get products to market ; electricity for homes, schools and businesses; water and sanitation to keep its people healthy and to support crops ; and modern communications services for everyone.

“ But all this costs money – a lot of it ! That is why the Nigerian government – like governments all across the globe – is turning to the private sector for investment , technical expertise , and management capacity to improve the delivery of services .

“ One way to do this is through PPPs, long -term contracts between governments and companies for the provision of public services and infrastructure .

“ But let ’ s be frank: despite an uptick in PPP projects in Nigeria – there are about 50 being implemented right now and another 60 in development – many have not lived up to their potential.

“ Some were pushed too hastily and were poorly structured; several are now mired in disputes. The underlying causes are complex .
“ In June, private sector representatives listed the main issues during a visit to Lagos by Joaquim Levy , the World Bank Group ’ s CFO .
They said that Nigerian laws and regulations governing PPPs are not clear and that key stakeholders need more knowledge to plan , structure , and implement complex PPPs. ”

Continuing , the bank chiefs said, “ It ’ s time to get this right, as demand for infrastructure is growing at an unprecedented rate . The link between economic growth and infrastructure is well-established .

“ Any country that wants a robust economy and create jobs must stay on top of its infrastructure and related services . At the same time, we know that governments simply cannot afford to finance all infrastructure costs from the budget . This is in no way a challenge unique to Nigeria.

“ From our side , the World Bank Group is prepared to partner even more strongly with Nigeria to increase its ability to build an enabling environment for PPPs and a robust pipeline in key sectors to attract more investors . ”

They said when designed well and implemented in a balanced regulatory environment, PPPs can leverage scarce public funding and introduce private sector technology and innovation to public services .

Such projects can also bring efficiency and sustainability, while allocating risk between the public and private actors based on their capacity to manage it, the World Bank chiefs added.

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