Nigeria’s infrastructure Master Plan estimated to cost a whopping $25billion might remain a mirage if the country doesn’t apply a more holistic and tactical execution strategy, Engr. Femi Akintunde, Group Managing Director, Alpha Mead Group has said.
Engr. Akintunde affirmed that despite the existence of a National Integrated Infrastructure Master Plan (NIIMP), the fragmented approach by successive government to actualize the plan have not produced any significant result just yet.
“Our approach to infrastructure needs to be more holistic. We need to understand the requirements, basics, dynamics and framework on the entire supply value chain. What we currently have is a fragmented approach which is not delivering the desired result,” Engr. Akintunde said, while speaking to Journalists in Lagos recently.
Nigeria, Africa’s biggest economy is currently grappling with visible infrastructure deficit which accounts for only 35-40 percent of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP), against the international benchmark of 70 percent.
To enable the country attain the global benchmark, the NIMP was conceptualized in 2014. The plan provides a roadmap for building world class infrastructure that will guarantee sustainable economic growth and development. It would enable the nation take advantage of the vast opportunities in the domestic and global economies to enhance the nation’s competitiveness and improve the quality of life of the citizenry.
According to the plan, the country must aggressively increase infrastructure spending to meet up its demand and with infrastructure deficit expected to cost $2.9 trillion, it is expected that spending would need to ramp up quickly, from the current 3-5 percent of GDP to an average of 9 percent over the 30 year period.
To attract the required funding to actualize this, Engr. Akintunde enthused that government must become pragmatic in enticing foreign investors to offer the foreign debt support – considering government’s inability to fund the NIIMP.
“Recent trends have shown that the credibility and transparency of government funding infrastructure projects is quite low,” he said, adding that there is a need for the country to boost its self-credibility to international investors and infrastructure fund managers who needs to be assured of their investment.
According to him, the government must also rethink its administrative approach to infrastructure delivery in the country. “Government needs to create a dedicated infrastructure development agency to harness and drive the entire infrastructure delivery process, such that, the commission is backed by a legal framework and have a mandate that transcends any political regime.
To ensure the sustainability and functionality of the commission, Engr. Akintunde advised that the commission’s mandate should also clearly state the execution plan of every project; reflecting the measurement metrics of classifying successful projects.
“This is a more feasible way to meet our infrastructure needs, because we will then have a defined expectation and target for the commission at every interval,” he further said.
Assessing the huge infrastructure deficit plaguing the country, Engr. Akintunde noted that while some sectors of the economy have recorded significant improvement, others have failed to gain any traction.
“Our telecommunication infrastructure is not the worst in Africa. It took us a while to take off but we have made significant progress in the last decade. We have also seen this improvement dovetail into the mass media. Never in the history of this country have we had so much content transmitted like we have today,” the industrial Engineer said, adding that sub-sectors such as social media have leveraged on the Telco’s infrastructure to thrive.
However, Engr. Akintunde raised concerns over the infrastructure deficit in the health, education and power sectors. To him, these sectors which can be easily categorised as the critical sectors of the economy have remained gross underdeveloped.