Through the years, the country and by extension, the economy, was crippled by an infrastructural deficit that cut across all industries. With every administration, efforts to handle it was done in half steps or with zero political will.
Apart from that, the jurisdiction, which oversees Nigeria’s sovereign wealth fund, is also
Collaborating with the newly-established Infrastructure Company (Infra-Co) to help the company achieve optimum results from its mandate.
To address Nigeria’s huge infrastructural deficit, President Muhammadu Buhari had recently accepted the establishment of Infra-Co, a Public-Private Partnership-styled infrastructure firm with an initial seed funding of N1 billion. It is also involved in constructing three major legacy jobs’ being the 127.6-kilometre Lagos-Ibadan expressway, 45-kilometer second Niger bridge as well as the 375-kilometre Abuja-Kano highway.
According to the Managing Director of NSIA,” Mr Uche Orji said; “On the road jobs, I’ve talked about the probability of this SUKUK fund, but operationalising these roads, finishing the concession arrangements for these roads and funding plans for the streets are extremely important since I expect them to now begin turning it to specific companies.
“These are going to be toll roads, I keep emphasising, and they’ll be run as a company.
“The federal government set up the Presidential Infrastructural Development Funds to address the financing needs of the three jobs. The aim of finishing them would be to make them economically viable anywhere from 2022 into 2023.
“About Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, I know some folks are still struggling with this, but you may also attest to the fact that a good deal of progress was made. We’re over 60 per cent completed, I think 63 per cent on Lagos-Ibadan Expressway. I think we ought to be able to complete that project at the end of 2022.
“On the Second Niger Bridge at the close of the year (2020), we had been about 53 per cent completed. I am hoping that by the end of this calendar year, we will have completed the decking of the bridge. So, by the end of the year, I am hopeful that we are able to see a bridge.
“The initial scope to the Abuja-Kano road will be achieved next year, the new scope, the Ministry of Works provides an update. So, every one of these jobs is moving at speed. Let me emphasise, these are likely to be commercial financial corridors. There will be cost roads, trailer parks, there’ll be all kinds of things that are going to be inserted into these streets to make sure that they earn revenue.”
Essential to those projects is funding. On this, Orji further triumphed in the NSIA plan to raise a SUKUK to address some of the financing concerns of the project. Also, it was noted that the newly recovered $311 million Sani Abachi loot from the United States and the Island of Jersey is going to be steered to the 3 projects on an equivalent basis.
The Lagos-Ibadan Expressway will cost the FG N311 billion while on the Abuja-Kano Highway, the government will invest N797 billion.
Another significant infrastructural development being undertaken by NSIA is Nigeria’s First Ammonia and Diammonium phosphate plant in Akwa Ibom State at an estimated cost of $.14 billion. To accomplish this, the NSIA sealed the deal with the OCP of both Morocco and the Akwa Ibom State government.
Basically, the MoU comes beneath NSIA Gas Industrialisation Strategy and could drive implementation of the Multipurpose Industrial Platform project. The project is structured to commercialise Nigeria’s huge natural gas resources and fulfil Morocco’s demand for cost-competitive ammonia.
But $1.4 billion will be spent in building the plant out and its supporting infrastructure with a target operations commencement date of 2025.
On this, the NISA boss noted that increasing the fund for the project would be simple in view of the present liquidity degree at both the domestic and the global debt markets.
According to Orji, the jurisdiction will now raise only $900 million in the debt on the overwhelming equity interests seen by the authority.
He explained: “It could be $900 million, it could be a billion and that is simply because the equity portion of the fund is seeing more interest than we had planned. So there are a lot of people asking to have the opportunity to invest in equity. The initial structure was for us to have about $400 million of equity plus a billion dollars of debt.
“But now we have over $500 million of equity interest rates. We might just for efficiency purposes limit it to that and $900 million dollars. Where are we likely to increase that? It’s quite straightforward. There is a lot of liquidity in the market right now. We are having to make a choice as to who is going to be the underwriter. And if you step back and take a look at the trade itself, you’ve got a 100 per cent off-take ensured and therefore it’s simple to fund jobs like that.
“I think we’re feeling quite confident that somewhere at the international marketplace and local market we’ll have the ability to increase the debt”
The NSIA manager disclosed that so far, there has not been an agreement yet on the stake of the state-owned petroleum corporation from the venture.
“It has not been agreed. But I think in the present time, the original partners are NSIA 50 per cent OCP 50 per cent at the development stage and will acknowledge other equity partners shortly which will include the NNPC, but the ideal portions haven’t been agreed between the parties”.
To boost infrastructural development in the medical sector, especially in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, the NSIA donated 126 units of Patient Monitors and 63 units of Oxygen Concentrators to 21 health care institutions over the six geopolitical zones of the country.
The move is part of the COVID-19 relief programmes. With the country’s economy still in recovery, the relief gear is expected to increase the present stock of critical medical equipment needed for the containment of the virus in Nigeria. The source of oxygen concentrators and patient monitors are expected to boost the government’s efforts to provide an efficient and effective healthcare response for those affected by the virus.
The lack of oxygen concentrators and patient monitors had slowed the government’s skill in providing an efficient and effective healthcare response for those affected by the virus through the initial wave of the outbreak.
He stated, “We all know that our nation is at war with this pervading enemy and we are going to ensure that the virus won’t spread further. We’re happy that the NSIA has helped in providing these facilities and this gear is a welcome development. It may not have come at a better time.”
He charged the health care centres that got the facilities to make certain that they are deployed in a manner that will help to save the lives of Nigerians, including that”this administration will continue to produce measures to block the spread of this virus. We cannot stop the spread if we fail to take responsibility. To those in doubt, COVID-19 is real, wear your face mask, keep social distancing and if it’s possible, don’t travel. I need us to treat everyone as a potential carrier of COVID-19″.
Still, on healthcare, the power operationalised that the NSIA-Kano Diagnostic Centre; operationalised the NSIA-Umuahia Diagnostic Centre and Commissioned Administrative and Training centre for the NSIA-LUTH Cancer Centre.
It also commenced a strategy to roll out additional healthcare projects across the country, just as they partnered with University College London Consult to develop a pharmaceutical investment plan with a strategy to develop active direct investments in 2021.
On this, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, praised the NSIA plank for providing the equipment, adding that through this deadline, the jurisdiction has been able to demonstrate that investment in healthcare is an investment in the market as it guarantees greater yields, adding that”I wish to promote the NSIA to continue its assistance in the health care sector. The gear will help to offer succour to families impacted by COVID-19″.
In the middle of all the infrastructural renewal happening, penultimate week, the NSIA introduced its 2020 performance scorecard which revealed its total assets grew to N981.78 billion in 2020, at a time its counterparts across the world are limping.
They blamed the growth of assets to the subject, strategic financial implementation and consistent implementation of well-defined infrastructure investment programs for the year.
It further afield the COVID-19 storm due to solid performance from the investments in international capital markets, improved participation from subsidiaries and affiliates and exchange profit from foreign currency positions
Highlights of NSIA’s activities and performance during the interval showed they recorded a 343 per cent increase in Total Comprehensive Income into N160.06 billion in 2020 as against N36.15bn in 2019. Excluding devaluation gain of N51 billion, core income of N109bn was listed in 2020 in comparison to N33.07 billion in 2019.
The NSIA also received an additional contribution of $250 million and provided the first stabilisation service to the national authorities where $150 million has been withdrawn from the Stabilisation Fund. Additionally, to handle the continuing pandemic, Orji said the NSIA partnered the International Citizen, a not-for-profit group, to form the Nigeria Solidarity Support Fund.
In nature, with all it has achieved and what it aims to capitalise on, the power isn’t slowing on its oars to renew the infrastructural deficit across the board.