Research experts have placed Nigeria’s infrastructure gap at $3 trillion, which is about six times the size of its annual Gross Domestic Product (GDP). A lecturer at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Professor Muhammed Usman, who spoke during a virtual meeting on institutionalisation of R&D in infrastructure development, said between 2009 and 2013, Nigeria invested a paltry $664 per capita per annual in infrastructure, representing three per cent of its GDP, compared with an average investment of $3.060, or five per cent of GDP in developed countries. According to him, this has had widened the country’s infrastructure gap, and has also been a major impediment to the nation’s economic growth. He said: ‘‘This poses a major funding challenge in the face of the current fiscal imbalances.
Besides, the country is currently grappling with the hydra headed problems of inflation (17.33%), unemployment (33.3%) and rising debt. “Infrastructural development plays a pivotal role in enhancing economic growth, improving living standards, reducing poverty, and contributing to environmental sustainability.” Chief Executive Officer of Nigeria Economic Summit Group, (NESG), Laoye Jaiyeola, noted that infrastructure was a major hindrance to the country’s competitive development, adding that the country needs funds annually to finance infrastructure if it must get out of the rocks.
“I have been involved in a lot of surveys that look at the competitiveness of nations, and each time we look at our ranking around where we are in the world competitiveness index of doing business, one thing that stands out is the poor level of our infrastructure, and the extent to which it has hindered us from significant development locally.
Executive Secretary of TETFund, Prof Suleiman Bogoro, said the fund was reviewing a report of the draft executive bill on the establishment of the National Research and Development Foundation, NRDF, earlier received from the RDSC. “I am excited, particularly listening to the cross cutting issues. If there is any area that has cross cutting imperatives, across the other sectors is infrastructure. “I wonder if there is any aspect of the routine life around economy, technology and in all human activities or livelihood in its entirety that does not require infrastructure. That underlines the importance of this subcommittee,” he said.