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AfDB urges FG to Prioritize Power, Infrastructure

The African Development Bank says unless Nigeria decisively tackles its energy deficiency and reliability, its industries will remain uncompetitive.

The President of the Bank, Dr. Akinwunmi Adeshina stated this in Abuja at the Adeola Odutola lecture instituted by the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria with the theme Overcoming Binding Constraints to Competitive Manufacturing for intra-regional trade.

Dr. Adeshina explained that a situation where Nigerians spend fourteen billion dollars on generators and fuel annually did not augur well for Industrial growth.

Quoting an IMF survey, Dr. Adeshina said unreliable power supply costs the nation about twenty nine billion dollars, close to six pecent of its gross domestic product.

He advocated massive investments in variable energy mixes, including gas, hydropower resources and large scale solar systems.

Dr. Adeshina noted that on the part of the AFDB, it had provided $200 million for the Nigeria Electrification Project, designed to fill the electricity access gap in the country and also invested $210 million in the Nigeria Transmission project, to strengthen the grid power evacuation and regional interconnection.

The AFDB President also spoke on the poor state of infrastructure especially at the ports where he said it costs $35,000 to export100 tons of produce from Nigeria compared to just $4,000 in Ghana.

He said the bottlenecks and gridlock around the port had made it uncompetitive and advised that urgent reforms be carried out.

The President of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, Mr. Mansur Ahmed said the Industrial sector was arguably the worst hit by the COVID-19 pandemic but hinted that the several intervention funds by the Federal Government had been critical in preventing a collapse.

Mr. Ahmed however added that the recovery was still fragile and that the sector needed more support to scale up its capacity.

President Muhammadu Buhari who was represented at the event by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation expressed appreciation for the resilience of the nation’s manufacturing sector and promised Government’s continued support to the sector.

Biodun Dare