World Bank and the African Development Bank yesterday commended the power reforms efforts of the federal government, and urged other African countries to borrow a leaf from the exercise.
The commendations came at the opening session of the African Union’s Summit on Financing Infrastructure Development held in Dakar, Senegal.
The summit with the theme, “Leveraging Public-Private Partnerships for continental infrastructure transformation” was convened by President Macky Sall of the Republic of Senegal and Chairperson of the NEPAD Heads of State and Government Orientation Committee.
The Vice President Africa, World Bank, Mr. Mukhtar Diop, while listing some infrastructure achievements across Africa commended the Federal Government for the successful privatisation of the private sector in Nigeria.
He described what he called the electric reforms as one of the ways of solving Africa’s problems by Africans.
“We must commend the leadership in Nigeria for the successful completion of the privatisation of the country’s power sector. The electric reforms in that country is one of the ways of solving Africa’s problems by Africans. We commend the country for that,” Diop said.
The President, African Development Bank Group, Dr. Donald Kaberuka, on his part commended President Goodluck Jonathan for the partial removal of subsidy and for using the money saved on infrastructure and education among others.
Jonathan, in his remarks, said the continent could no longer rely solely on budgetary resources to finance the development of infrastructure.
He said the summit was meant to draw from country experiences to identify various ways of mobilising financial resources required to fix Africa’s infrastructure gap.
The President said in Nigeria, his administration was mobilising domestic financial resources for infrastructure development.
He named some examples of such techniques to include the Sovereign Wealth Fund, Pension Funds, issuance of Dedicated Infrastructure Bonds, establishment and capitalisation of the Infrastructure Bank and the use of Public Private Partnerships.
Despite these however, Jonathan said the country was facing some challenges including inadequate technical expertise.
He said, “At the regional and continental level, the difference in legal and regulatory systems and standards across countries is also an issue. We are well positioned to take specific measures to address these challenges.
“Our economic fundamentals are strong. The performance of our shock market is among the best globally. The yields and prices of our domestic and foreign bonds are favourable.
“Going forward, the experiences that will be shared by different countries at this summit and lessons learned from the deliberations and panel discussions should provide key inputs into the planning, design and implementation of future infrastructure projects.”
Jonathan said to scale up and achieve success, projects would require proper planning and funding.
He said Nigeria would exploit innovative ways to attract private sector participation and would further strengthen and expand enabling regulatory and legal frameworks to encourage the development of local consortia to take on big-ticket projects.