The featured speaker at the annual FIABCI-Nigeria dinner, hosted by the Nigerian Chapter, was Bode Agusto, CEO, Agusto & Co Limited. The theme of this year’s event, “Infrastructure Finance in a Challenging Economy” was strategically chosen to reflect the present state of the economy. In promoting the event FIABCI-Nigeria President Joseph Akhigbe, said the dinner would “provoke thoughts on both the economy and infrastructure development.” The FIABCI New Year dinner, which is in its third edition, is an annual event through which the association focuses on the economy and brings all the factors that enhance real estate development into focus.
According to Mr. Agusto, Nigeria is known to be burdened with infrastructure deficit which experts say requires several billions of US dollars to bridge. This deficit, according to experts, is a direct consequence of low investment in this critical component of economic growth and national development.
Population growth and rapid urbanization have also played a major role. From 1960 when there were just 46 million people in Nigeria, the country’s population has grown to about 180 million and is projected to hit 550 million in 2070. This rapid population growth requires huge investment in infrastructure but, according to Mr. Agusto, “Nigeria is under-investing in infrastructure.”
Agusto pointed out that the government, acting alone, is unable to make the investments required. He canvassed a departure from the traditional funding of infrastructure in which, government is the sole provider of funds for infrastructure investment and projects are executed through government ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs).
The drawback of this model, he explained, is that infrastructure projects become politicized – budgets are approved late, there is a proliferation of projects, scarce funds are spread thinly amongst the numerous projects and are rarely completed.
A better and more viable alternative, he recommended, is the non-traditional funding model which is for the government to look for partners such as International Development Institutions/Agencies (IDAs), local businesses and foreign businesses in a public private partnership (PPP) arrangement. Read more about Mr. Agusto’s remarks at the FIABCI Dinner, as reported in Business Day online>
The FIABCI dinner is also an occasion for recognizing and rewarding excellence in real estate projects design and execution. This year, the award recipients included Primrose Properties/Actis Heritage Place as the Best Commercial Development (Office category); Chagoury Group for their Banana Island and Eko Atlantic City development (Master Plan development category), and Dipo Davies, Publisher, Castles Magazine for Media Achievement Award in print media (Real Estate).