By Segun Adeleye
To say poor infrastructure is undermining the nation’s economic and social development quest will be an understatement.
With infrastructure deficit estimated at $100 billion yearly, the World Bank said the level and quality of infrastructure in Nigeria is low despite the Federal Government’s claim of borrowing to finance infrastructure while its physical infrastructure gap would likely reach $3 trillion in the next 30 years.
According to an expert, “In virtually all sectors – power, transportation, communication, aviation, education, health, etc. – the absence of critical and needed infrastructure has affected the deliverables and Nigerians have not enjoyed a robust system that could deliver the best of services to us.”
There is a concept which Segun Adeleye Foundation for Good Leadership in Africa (SAFFGLIA) will privately propose to the new government. It will require an Executive Order for immediate flag off of the constructions of all roads across the country. It will require collaborations from the federal government with the states down to the local community development associations. There will be a central pool of funds while the vast deposit of bitumen in the country will be tapped with only local contractors and labour to be deployed to build roads, thereby create massive jobs and turn around the fortune of the country in a matter of four years.
Nigeria is said to have the lowest access to electricity globally, with about 92 million persons out of the country’s 200 million population lacking access to power.
In the country which requires 30,000MW electricity generation to meet current demand, there are currently 23 grid-connected generating plants with a total installed capacity of 11,165.4 MW, but an available capacity of 7,139.6 MW.
The Tinubu government should do whatever is possible to get Siemens of Germany deliver in the deal with the outgoing administration to increase Nigeria’s electricity generation to 25,000MW in six years. The $2 billion deal is already behind schedule as it was structured to take the country’s grid operational capacity from less than 5,000 MW to 7000 MW by 2021; increase the capacity to 11,000MW by 2023 and achieve total operational generation and national grid capacity to 25,000MW by 2025.
As the country is endowed with abundant renewable energy resources, the significant ones being solar energy, biomass, wind, and small and large hydropower with potential for hydrogen fuel, geothermal and ocean energies, the exploitation and utilization of renewable energy resources should also be a priority of the new government.
The potential in the aviation sector will continue to be massive as the airline industry is projected to reach $779 billion in total revenues in 2023, owing to the growing passenger demand.
Because of Nigeria’s huge population, it cannot afford to be a fringe payer in the sector. The proposed national carrier, Nigeria Air which the government is pushing to fly before 29 May must be encouraged to start on a strong footing. It should adopt the NLNG structure where irrespective of the percentage of government equities, the operatorship should be by the private sector. The first hurdle will be to institute a very strong corporate governance structure which can stand the test of time.
The same process should be extended to the privatization of all government owned airports with government retaining minority shares. This will attract huge local and foreign investments into the sector and bring about proper maintenance and international standard services to our airports.
*Segun Adeleye is the President/CEO, World Stage Limited