Senate President Ahmad Lawan has said that with the current fiscal constraints facing the economy, the Federal Government may be constrained to meet the huge demand for infrastructure, especially in the transport sector.
He noted that the sector is “severely lagging behind due to years of corruption”.
Lawan spoke on Monday at the maiden Nigeria-South Africa Road Transport Infrastructure and Public Private Partnership Collaboration Initiative in Abuja.
The Senate President, who was represented by the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Works, Adamu Aliero, said the Senate was committed to the development of the country through public-private partnership (PPP) arrangements.
He said: “Given the current fiscal constraints that the economy is facing, the government may not be able to meet up with the demand for infrastructure, especially in transportation, which is severely lagging behind due to years of corruption in the sector.
“The government is working towards reviving the railways in Nigeria so that efficient movement of people, goods and services in a safe and secure location can be achieved. We all have to work together to develop our country, and the enabling environment provided by government will ensure that the private sector becomes an important development partner.
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“The National Assembly is ready to work with the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC) to ensure all bottlenecks to sustainable PPP processes are removed. The Senate is committed to the development of Nigeria through public-private partnerships.
“We are prepared to look at the ICRC Act and see where it requires amendment so that the private sector can come and partner with the government to develop our infrastructure. We will do all we can to ensure that we restore the confidence of investors in Nigeria or outside the country.”
Managing Director of Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA), Nuruddeen Rafindadi, noted that lack of funding had negatively impacted the agency’s operations over the years.
Rafindadi said there is need for an innovative alternative funding to maintain Federal roads.
According to him, there has been significant increase in emergency works done by the agency due to extreme weather conditions across the country in the face of increasing depletion of most Federal roads.
He said: “The funding of FERMA’s operation has been largely through fiscal appropriation from the Federal Government. Inadequate funding has negatively impacted the agency’s operations over the years; thus, the need for innovative alternative funding sources is clearly a necessity and not an option.
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