By Samuel Bankole
Panellists at this year’s WorldStage Economic Summit have identified lack of visionary leadership, endemic corruption and operations of a unitary system of government as the bane of infrastructural development in Nigeria.
The panellists, comprising publishers, a university lecturer and the Chief Executive of a technological firm urged Nigerians to redesign the recruitment process for leadership as part of steps to overcome the challenges of infrastructure development in the country.
For a lecturer at the Department of Economics and Development Studies University of Lagos, Oluseye Samuel Ajuwon, the issues of corruption is endemic in the country and this has completely eroded the resources available for building and expanding the country’s infrastructural base.
He advocated that the government must be committed to the provision of good governance and ensuring public infrastructures are well protected, managed, and maintained.
He also said that both the ongoing and future developments should be closely monitored while ensuring that the projects are awarded on merits, and practical timelines are given and strictly followed for completion.
“The government should continue in its fight against corruption and address excessive spending on governance.
“Also, government facilities should be appropriately managed and put into effective and efficient use.
“Furthermore, credit facilities for infrastructural projects should be made easily accessible with minimum interest rates,” Ajuwon, a PhD holder said.
On his part, the publisher of Realnews, Maureen Chigbo advocated that the process of recruiting leadership into public offices should be reviewed to ensure that quality and visionary leaders are engaged in nation-building.
She said that the development of any country depends largely on visionary leaders who could deploy the resources of the country for good use and ensure that corruption is drastically reduced.
According to Chigbo, many public officials get to their position through other considerations than merit, noting that as long as the country continues to vote for mediocre leaders, the development will continue to elude Nigeria.
For the Chief executive officer of Aife City Institution, Soji Adeleye, the federal government should devolve power to the states and local governments for efficient deployment of resources and ensure even distributions of infrastructure in the country.
Adeleye believed that the major challenge facing the country today is the concentration of power in the centre while the subnational are not well equipped to perform certain functions, leading to infrastructural decay.
He advocated that a regional system of government could help reshape policy implementation and rapid development of infrastructure in the country.
Also, the chief executive of the Association of Power Generation Companies (APGC), Joy Ogaji, who joined the panel discussion via zoom, said the problem with the privatization of the power sector was poor implementation of the policy by those in charge.
She said the process of privatization of the power sector was well planned and executed, contrary to public opinion, noting that the challenge is the recruitment of people without the knowledge of the industry into the regulatory body.
He said many people deployed by the government to monitor and implement sector reforms are largely not conversant with the technicality of the sector.
Earlier in his keynote address, the acting Director-General of Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC), Michael Ohiani disclosed that the commission has issued 50 Full Business Case Compliance Certificates to date.
Ohiani paper was presented virtually through the Head of Special Projects & Acting Coordinator, NII3P (a PPP Training Institute of ICRC), Amanze Okere.
“In the past 14 years, ICRC has gotten Federal Executive Council Approval for more than 50 projects, amounting to more than three (3) trillion Naira in private sector funds, and is currently providing regulatory guidance on more than two hundred (200) projects.
“Between 2010 and 2021, under the regulatory guidance of the ICRC, the Nigerian Government has approved PPP projects worth more than USD8 Billion,” the ICRC chief said.
Earlier in his opening remark, the president and chief executive of WorldStage, the organizer of the summit, Segun Adeleye said the focus of the summit with the theme; “Nigeria’s economy: Bridging the infrastructural gap” is to examine the infrastructural gap challenges and proffer solution that would significantly help at improving prospects of achieving the nation economic potential.
The panel discussion was moderated by the Publisher/Chief Executive Officer of Global Financial Digest, Oludare Mayowa.