Monday, June 16, 2008

Vision 2020 to gulp N12tr

By Adeyemi Adepetun (The Guardian)

THE financial outlay for Nigeria's Vision 2020 development agenda has been unfolded by the Federal Government: It will gulp, at least, N12 trillion or $100 billion.

The money will be spent in the next 12 years in four sectors, which the government identifies as the pivots of the country's drive to join the top 20 global economies in 2020.

Without any derailment from the set objectives, the government will on the average spend N1 trillion yearly in the former sectors.

The Minister of National Planning and Deputy Chairman, National Planning Commission (NPC), Senator Sanusi Daggash, who unveiled the expenditure pattern at the weekend in Lagos, said the money would be spent on power, railways, roads and the oil and gas sectors.

Even though, he recognised that agriculture needs special attention, Daggash did not disclose the amount the government would spend on the sector during the period.

Daggash said the power sector needs between $18 billion and $20 billion to be revived. The railway line needs about $10 billion, the roads require about $15 billion, while the oil and gas sector would gulp $60 billion investment.

He spoke in Lagos at a dinner organised by the Harvard Business School Association of Nigeria (HBSAN) to mark the silver jubilee of and the centenary of the body and the school, located in Cambridge, United States with the theme: "2nd Ball and Black Tie Dinner."

Daggash, who spoke on "infrastructural development in Nigeria,", noted that electricity was yet to reach over two billion people worldwide and invariably, the much-expected output from mostly developing economies is stunted.

He added that on the average, 40 per cent of the power generating capacity in developing nations is unavailable for production.

The Senator said based on the constraints experienced by poor economies due to power crisis, they had to resolve into looking for Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) to augment their meagre budgets for infrastructural development.

The minister said that for most countries, the bulk of FDIs would remain concentrated on resources - based industries, with Africa capturing about three per cent of the total global FDIs compared with developing countries in Asia, which receive nearly 25 per cent of the funds in the last one year.

He said Nigeria like most developing nations suffers acute infrastructural deficiency in all critical sectors of the economy.

This, he said, had become a threat to the government's aspiration to make the country one of the top 20 economies in world by 2020.

"Perhaps, the most threatening is the chronic lack of power," he stated.

Daggash said the World Bank believes that the power problem in the country holds back the country's Gross Domestic Products (GDP),by as eight per cent.

He added: "It will interest you to know that the electricity consumption at the Harvard campus in Cambridge is about 100mw, which is the same amount of electricity that is supplied to about four states in the North, with a population of about 16 million people.

"This is in spite of the huge amount of money that has been directed to the sector in recent time through the National Integrated Power Projects (NIPPs) and other initiatives.

Daggash however, said those were the bad news, "the good news is that Nigeria has began to see the light at the end of the tunnel because there is now an economic renaissance going on in the country."

He remarked that the international community had started noticing the success of the government's reforms, anchored on the National Economic Empowerment Development Strategy (NEEDS), the Social Economic Regeneration Agenda implemented by former President Olusegun Obasanjo.

"The implementation of NEEDS move the country from a stagnant economy to a vibrant and robust nation. We have witnessed high level of dynamism and activities in the policies environment in our country with the increasing engagement and deliberation between government, civil societies and the industrial sector aimed at putting the country on a higher pedestal of growth", he stated.

Daggash said the present government is now committed to moving the nation to a level where it would be able to compete globally.

The government, he added, was working on a Private Partnership Project (PPP) to accommodate the private sector to chart a new course for the development.

The minister disclosed that the government is developing a 15-year national infrastructure master plan to improve investment in infrastructure.

Daggash said: "We are also working in a collaboration effort with the private sector for the West African Gas Pipeline project, a 681km onshore and offshore that will transport natural gas from the western Niger Delta to selected consumers in the Benin Republic, Togo and Ghana.

"The pipeline project obtained the financial guarantees of the World Bank and is currently being considered for support by the European Investment Bank.

"It is believed that the project will contribute to the harmonisation of regional, institutional vigour and regulatory framework in the participating West African countries in the context of World Bank within the West African Regional Integration Assistance Strategy", he said.

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