The federal government’s Highway Development and Management Initiative (HDMI) is expected to create 50,000 direct and over 200,000 indirect jobs, Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola has said.
He made the disclosure at a just-ended national conference on transportation infrastructure development financing in Nigeria, in Abuja.
Tagged “Sustainable Funding for Transport Infrastructure Development in Nigeria”, the conference was organised by the Nigerian Institute of Transport Technology, Zaria. It sought ways to sustain funding for transport Infrastructure in Nigeria.
Noting that “road transportation accounts for 95% of all freight and passenger movement in Nigeria, making it a strategic economic tool for Nigeria’s economic growth and prosperity.,” Fashola stressed that federal government’s ongoing road works presented’ ample opportunities for investors.
According to the minister, HDMI “is expected to, among other things, utilize private sector funds to bring about order, accountability and attract sustainable investment and funding in the development of road infrastructure and maximize the use of assets along the Federal Highways Right of Way (RoW)”.
Under the government’s Value Added Concession (VAC), he added, 75 investors submitted bids for the Request for Qualification. 18 of the firms have been shortlisted for the next stage of the procurement process Request for Proposal(RFP).
Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning Mrs. Zainab Ahmed who presented the lead paper, opined that infrastructure investment required continuous maintenance and replenishment of the infrastructure stock of any country.
Stakeholders at the conference, including Ecobank MD, Patrick Akinwutan, DG, Debt Management Office, Ms. Patience Oniha, Prof. Bamidele Badejo of the Obafemi Awolowo University, identified transport Infrastructure as key to facilitating the realization of aspirations for rapid socioeconomic development necessary for uplifting the standards of living of the citizens.
The DMO boss dwelt on the risk and benefit analysis of the China Belt and Road Initiative in Nigeria., even as the country’s Ambassador to Nigeria Mr. Cui Jianchun assured that China would continue to fund infrastructure development in Africa.
Acting Managing Director/CEO, The Infrastructure Bank PLC, Ross Oluyede as well as the Acting DG, ICRC, Mr. Mike Ohiani identified financial institutions as key to reducing the huge infrastructure deficit in Nigeria, lamenting that sole financing by government has led to an increasingly large budget deficits for transport infrastructure.
Director, Transport Infrastructure Department, Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC),
Mr. Emmanuel Onwodi
said adopting PPP in transportation infrastructure development would ensure increasing infrastructure stocks as public financial resources.