In this report, CHIKA OKEKE examines the Nigeria Integrated Infrastructure Masterplan (NIIMP) as a critical framework for boosting the nation’s infrastructure deficit which is pegged at $3.1trillion and the need for federal government to revamp the plan.
Nigeria is currently at a crossroads in maintaining its infrastructure stock as many roads, bridges, water systems and national electricity grid built several years ago have worn out.
Recall that in 2012, the National Planning Commission (NPC) initiated the drafting of a long-term infrastructure development plan that would engender sustainable economic growth and development in line with former president Goodluck Jonathan’s transformation agenda.
The development of the NIIMP was anchored on the need to synchronize and harmonize the various sectorial infrastructure development plans, into a single, comprehensive and coherent document that would fully exploit the synergies and linkages thereby providing a clear investment framework for boosting investments in Nigeria’s Infrastructure sector.
To this end, the Nigeria Society of Engineers (NSE) on 20th October, 2014 organised a one-day presidential expert group meeting meant to produce a blueprint for the development of an infrastructure ranking and scorecard report for Nigeria.
The Nigerian Infrastructure Report Card published by the Nigerian Society of Engineers in 2015 rated the national infrastructure stock as E2 (2.08 out of 5), an indication that the poor state of infrastructure in the country constituted grave danger to public safety.
It covered 10 critical infrastructure such as in power; transportation; water & sanitation; health; education; oil & gas; housing; tourism; emergency response then security and law.
The African Development Bank (AfDB) had in its country strategy paper of 2013-2017 also blamed the dilapidated state of infrastructure in Nigeria to decades of neglect by successive governments.
The NIIMP was however designed to serve as the blueprint for boosting infrastructure stock over the next 30 years by 2043.
The master-plan revealed that a total of $3.1 trillion is needed to build, maintain and manage the nation’s infrastructure from 2014-2043.
Annually, Nigeria needed about $100bn which is approximately N38 trillion to close the infrastructure gap.
NIIMP provided the roadmap for building a world class infrastructure that would guarantee sustainable economic growth and development.
It would also enable the nation to take advantage of vast opportunities in the domestic and global economies to enhance the nation’s competitiveness and improve the quality of life of the citizenry.
Project portfolios mapped out in the plan are in transportation, Information and Communication Technology (ICT), energy, housing, social infrastructure and vital registration and security.
In transportation, it projected that nearly 50 percent of investments would be directed at the roads sub-sector in order to refurbish cross-national highways and expand the regional road network and linkages to other modes of transportation.
Also that the generation capacity and expansion of transmission infrastructure, as well as construction of supporting gas infrastructure in the energy sector should be prioritised.
For ICT, it suggested the expansion of mobile network capacity and the broadband fibre optic network.
In the built sector, it sought an increase in the number of housing units in order to close the current and projected housing deficit estimated at 17 million housing units.
The NIIMP emphasised the construction of facilities for education, hospitals, women and youth development, and sports as social infrastructure.
It also highlighted the prioritising of investments in national vital registration system and construction and rehabilitation of facilities for all security institutions in the area of vital registration and security.
Notwithstanding the target, there is an indication that the federal government may have dumped the plan given the lump sum of N38 trillion required annually to bridge the deficit.
This is even as the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG) last year raised the alarm over the inability of the current administration to implement the plan.
Although President Muhammadu Buhari had in 2017 at the National Assembly presented the 2018 budget of N8. 612 trillion; the ministry of power, works & housing known for its heavy infrastructure development got the largest share of N555. 8bn which is a breakaway from previous budgets.
About N2.428 trillion proposed as capital expenditure represented 30.8 percent of the budget.
Irrespective of this improvement in the budget system, the projected deficit valued at N2.005 trillion would be financed through external and domestic borrowings pegged at N1. 699 trillion.
This further raised pertinent question on the possibility of implementing the budget especially in the area of infrastructure development.
Experts who spoke to LEADERSHIP Newspaper expressed worry over the state of infrastructure in the country.
The Chairman of Abuja chapter of Nigerian Institution of Civil Engineers (NICE), Engr Ben Ossy Oko emphasised that implementing one quarter of the NIIMP would reverse Nigeria’s status from third world country to second world country.
Oko regretted that the masterplan which was formulated during the last administration was dumped adding that Nigeria is ranked a third world country due to the level of infrastructure deficit.
He hinted that addressing infrastructure deficit required urgent attention by the government adding that infrastructure is key in the development of every country.
“The progress of any country is measured by the level of their infrastructure development”.
He advised governments not to focus more attention in creating new committees or formulating new polices but to implement the existing policies that were formulated from 1960 till date.
Also, the Former Deputy Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Dr Obadiah Mailafia maintained that Nigeria would require nearly N20 trillion over the next 20 years to fix its infrastructure needs like railways, transportation, highways, ICT, harbours and construction.
According to him, “The NIMP of 2014 -2043 aims to increase infrastructure stock to 70 percent of GDP by 2043 which requires $2.9 trillion to be financed annually with $25 billion, so we need very practical and creative solutions”.
Mailafia pointed out that some monies accumulated from pension funds amounting to trillions of naira are lying idle at the banks due to the failure of governments to package the right framework to invest fund.
“If you use the monies for the railway project, it will pay its way and the risk will be very low because the railways will continue to run for the next 50 years so that the money borrowed can be paid back to the pensioners”.
He noted that there are idle funds owned by Nigerians in domiciliary accounts totalling over $20 billion stressing that there is a need to package the monies on favourable terms and invest it in key sectors.
He was hopeful that if Nigeria pursued creative approaches to infrastructure funding that it could massively source the capital needed for investment.
“We will also need capital resourceful from outside the country but if we do it well, it’s possible to raise the kind of money that will enable this country to build a robust infrastructure that will make Nigeria compete with Germany and other advanced countries”, he concluded.
Other experts however suggested that Public Private Partnership (PPP) is crucial for provision of adequate infrastructure while kicking against borrowing.
A survey released by NOIPolls emphasised that government lacked the capacity to address Nigeria’s $300bn infrastructure deficit, suggesting a Public Private Partnership (PPP) to unlock alternative financing options.
This is even as it identified lack of social and economic infrastructure as the most acute problems facing the manufacturing sector in Nigeria, which underscored the need for a holistic strategy to meet the infrastructure needs.
The former chairman, presidential technical committee on housing and urban development, Prof Akin Mabogunje hinted that Public Private Partnership (PPP) would ease budgetary pressure on the public sector to deliver secondary infrastructure to residents.
This is even as he noted that the development of secondary infrastructure such as roads that would have been the responsibility of FCT administration is one of the major benefits of PPP.
Also, the Director of Research, Centre for the Study of the Economies of Africa (CSEA), Dr Adedeji Adeniran noted that borrowing is not the only alternative in resolving the deficit saying that private sectors should be integrated into the system.
However, a Senior Economist with Lagos State Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Mr Charles Dungor said the organisation had over time advocated the inclusion of indigenous engineers in infrastructure projects.
He recalled that the Industry had interaction with members of Nigeria Society of Engineers (NSE) in the first quarter of 2017 where they advocated all- inclusive development in the area of infrastructure.
“I believe government is looking into it and soon, they will integrate indigenous engineers in large infrastructure projects as opposed to foreign engineers”.
He said the inclusion is necessary for the overall growth of the economy adding that it would also act as incentives to encourage engineers to focus more on their vocation.
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