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Tinubu Approves New Fund To Bridge Infrastructure Gap

An infrastructure fund to address agriculture, transportation, ports, aviation, energy, healthcare, and education has been approved by Nigeria President Tinubu.

President Bola Tinubu has approved a new Infrastructure Development Fund to facilitate effective infrastructure development across the nation’s critical sectors including agriculture, transportation, ports, aviation, energy, healthcare, and education. 

Tagged the “Renewed Hope Infrastructure Fund,” the fund is expected to invest in critical national projects which, according to the Presidency, will among other things, promote growth; enhance local value-addition, create employment opportunities, and stimulate technological innovation and exports.

Presidential spokesperson, Ajuri Ngelale, in a release issued on Monday, listed the objectives of the Fund to include; “Establishing an innovative infrastructure investment vehicle to attract and consolidate capital, serving as a dynamic driver for economic advancement.

“Execute strategic and meticulously chosen national infrastructure projects across several key sectors, including road, rail, agriculture (irrigation, storage, logistics & cold chain), ports, and aviation, among others.

“Efficiently utilize and aggregate accessible low-interest loans such as concessionary loans and Eurobonds, supplemented by the procurement of other favourable financing options, in addition to budgetary allocations.

“Guarantee Nigeria secures the most advantageous arrangements for financing, construction, and subsequently, operation and maintenance of the identified projects, ensuring optimal long-term outcomes for the nation.”

The Presidency also said the fund will identify appropriate approaches in its investment strategy, such as direct project financing through budgetary allocations and SPVs; co-financing (public-private partnerships) with key institutions, multilateral development institutions, as well as equity investments.

On agricultural infrastructure and food security, the statement explained that the emphasis is on the development of robust agricultural infrastructure networks. 

“This encompasses the establishment of national food storage facilities, integrated irrigation systems, ranching for animal husbandry, and the enhancement of agricultural logistics and distribution,” it stated. 

According to the presidency, on ports revitalization, the strategic thrust revolves around the rejuvenation of port facilities and associated infrastructure to streamline operations and enhance the ease of doing business. 

“By modernizing port facilities and implementing advanced monitoring systems, the goal is to optimize efficiency, attract investments, and bolster Nigeria’s position as a regional trade hub,” it affirmed. 

It said that, on aviation enhancement,

the focus is on the revitalization and modernization of major airports nationwide. 

“Through targeted investments and infrastructure upgrades, major airports will undergo comprehensive refurbishment, including improvement in terminal facilities, runway expansions, and the implementation of cutting-edge technologies to enhance safety and operational efficiency,” it said. 

On road infrastructure, some of the strategic projects to receive attention, according to the release, include the Lagos-Calabar Coastal Road, the Sokoto-Badagry Road, among other key road projects across the nation. This is to enhance connectivity, facilitate transport efficiency, and stimulate economic growth across regions. 

On rail infrastructure, it said Lagos-Kano and Eastern rail lines are among the projects to be prioritized by the fund, adding that the aim is to ensure the modernization of transportation networks, fostering interconnectivity between key urban centres, and facilitating the movement of goods and people with greater speed and reliability.

President Tinubu has also approved that the Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund (PIDF) be absorbed into the new Renewed Hope Infrastructure Development Fund (RHIDF), “which will successfully eliminate identified bureaucratic inefficiencies, enhance domestic and external counterpart funding opportunities, and expedite project delivery timelines for the benefit of the Nigerian people.”

“As the major infrastructural enabler of his global push for foreign direct investment across sectors, the President has further directed that the projects funded under the Renewed Hope Infrastructure Development Fund (RHIDF) reflect an equitable national spread, such that every Nigerian is impacted by the initiatives of his administration in the most qualitative fashion possible,” the release added. 

Shedding more light on the Fund after the regular meeting of the Federal Executive Council (FEC), Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, said President Tinubu is determined to ensure that the infrastructural deficit that is seen across the country is bridged. 

“We’re all aware that Nigeria is having challenges in terms of its infrastructure,” he said, recalling a study which concluded that Nigeria will require about $878 billion between 2016 and 2040 to bridge. 

He said that comes down to about $35 billion annually needed to bridge the infrastructure gap in the country. 

According to him: “Now what that means is that from 2016, going to 2024, about $25 billion dollars will be required annually to bridge that infrastructure deficit. 

“Therefore, Mr. President in his wisdom and with the approval of the Federal Executive Council, today approve the setting up of the Renewed Hope Infrastructure Development Fund to be domiciled in the Presidency.

The fund will be domiciled in the presidency”. 

Giving more details, Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Zaach Adedeji, explained to newsmen: “What we’ve observed is that we’ll need National Infrastructure Backbone and to get this done, because if you look at the analysis of the Integrated Infrastructure Masterplan that was commissioned in 2020, we will require $895 billion in the next 10 years to actually bridge the gap of infrastructure problem that we have. 

“So, for us to do that it, requires that we think really outside the box and compare what has worked elsewhere, whether within our country or in other advanced countries that we are actually proud to be associated with. In coming up with this, in the wisdom of Mr. President and magnanimity, so to say, of the Council, that they’ve approved the establishment of the Renewed Hope Infrastructure Fund as the catalyst to actually drive our infrastructure agenda. 

“This innovative fund consolidates existing resources to drive economic growth and connectivity across sectors like transport, agriculture, aviation, education and other socials. It aims for inclusive progress, leaving no community behind and this is expanding the initial Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund that we have. 

“This Renewed Hope Infrastructure Development Fund unifies efforts streamline the projects delivery for maximum impact, it accelerates infrastructure development, sparking economic dynamism nationwide. 

“The key objective of the fund is to invest in nationally critical projects in sectors that will promote growth, enhance local value addition through backward, forward and parallel linkages, create employment opportunities, promote technological innovation, promote exports.”

He further said: “Then what is our goal is to actually establish an innovative infrastructure investment vehicle that we will use to attract and consolidate capital, serving as a driver for economic advancement. It is also having as part of goals to execute strategic and meticulously chosen national infrastructure across several key-sectors, like coastal road; the rail that we want to do, both southern and eastern rail; agricultural, spanning from irrigation, storage, logistics, and cold-chain and food security; ports and our airports and also to guarantee Nigerians that we’ll secure most advantageous arrangement in financing.”

FEC also approved N1.267 trillion contracts for the implementation for 28 roads, bridges across the country. 

Works Minister, Dave Umahi who disclosed this to newsmen said: “Today the Federal Executive Council considered and approved a total of 28 roads and bridges and stepped down one project. The project I requested that should be stepped down so that I can look at it again is the Biu, Kanga, Kana, Gaya road to the border of Niger Republic costing about N358 billion.

“The other projects totaling 1.267 trillion. They were all approved by FEC having gone through the BPP and we got certification, no objection.

“Council also approved the Buruku bridge that is going across Katsina Ala River in Benue state, the bridge is a twin bridge that is matching the dualized road there, and each of the bridge is about 850 meters. So put the two together is 1.7 kilometers and is costing about N83.799 billion. 

“There was also approval by FEC good, for a road from Shaki to Okerete in Oyo. The road is 91.432 kilometers costing N144 billion”.

Deji Elumoye in Abuja

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