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NIGERIA: Infrastructure Master Plan Ready in August – Usman

The Minister of National Planning Commission (NPC), Dr. Shamsuddeen Usman, said  Tuesday said the proposed National Integrated Infrastructure Master Plan, which is aimed at checking duplication of infrastructure among the various tiers of government, would be launched in August. Its implementation would also begin immediately.

It also emerged that there may have been conflicting accounts about the real value of foreign direct investment (FDI) into the country as Minister of Trade and Investment, Dr. Olusegun Aganga, was said to have put the figures at about $12.3 billion.

CODEWIT reliably gathered from a source who took part in a recent meeting presided over by President Goodluck Jonathan that Aganga’s position was immediately contested by Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, who said he had done his homework prior to the meeting and had found that the quantum of FDI was only about $2.3 billion. It was further learnt that a senior member of the economic management team explained that about $9.3 billion of the figure presented by Aganga was in portfolio investments, leaving the country with only about $2.3 billion in tangible FDI.

It was learnt that Jonathan had sought to find out the quantum of FDI so far realised since efforts began to woo international investors into the country.

However, speaking to journalists in Abuja at the opening of the Nigeria Finance and Investment Forum, which was organised by Cowrie Partners, Usman said though a 30-year project, some “quick-wins” had been identified in the master plan would be aggregated into the 2014 budget. The presidency had approved the  drafting of the plan, which is also targeted at promoting the concept of collocation or infrastructure sharing among states, thereby eliminating unnecessary duplication and channelling such resource to other developmental projects.

Also, Managing Director, Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON), Mr. Mustafa Chike-Obi, said the current Gross Domestic  Product (GDP) growth rate of 7 per cent was not sufficient to liberate the Nigerian economy.

He said that was why in spite of current growth statistics, the expected impact on the common man had been minimal.
Chike-Obi said it would require the economy to grow at double-digits for up to 10 consecutive years before it could get out of the woods. Speaking during a panel discussion on lessons from the recent banking restructuring and local strategy for compliance with Basel II and III, he also said there was need to weaken the local currency in order to attract more FDI into the country.

He said the cost of borrowing remained “very high,” adding that there was need to relax the current  monetary policy stance.
He said AMCON was no longer planning to issue bonds in foreign currencies although it is empowered by law to do that.

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