Pension funds can save Africa from infrastructural deficit, decay – Panelists
Pension funds can be utilised to revamp decaying infrastructures and bridge funding gaps for infrastructure deficits across Africa.
This position was articulated by panelists at the World Pension Summit- Africa Special, which ended yesterday in Abuja.
At the opening plenary where panelists discussed “Structuring Pension Investments for sustenance,” the Managing Director of Infrastructure Bank Plc, Adekunle Abdulrazaq Oyinloye, observed that despite the noise that Nigeria is developing, some of the infrastructures are decaying fast.
He cited examples of some railways and roads in the South Western Nigeria, which have deteriorated over the years even as successive governments failed to expand them.
He said pension funds, if well managed, could rescue Africa, and Nigeria in particular, from decay and deficit.
The Director-General of the National Pension Commission (PenCom), Chinelo AnohuAmazu, stated that the estimated spending to meet the infrastructure deficit in Africa was $93bn a year, and Nigeria has a huge chunk of the estimate.
The total extimate, which represents 15 percent of the continent’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), spread between $28bn and $30bn a year across various strata of economies within the region.
The National Integrated Infrastructure Master Plan (NIIMP) crafted by the National Planning Commission (NPC) extimated that N485 trillion will be needed for accelerated integrated infrastructure development in the country in 30 years.
The Head Corporate Development, Quantum Global Corporate Services, Frank Behiblo, made a strong case for investing pension funds in the power sector as this would benefit the contributors of the fund.
“We must invest in people as people make the economy grow,” he advocated for peopledriven investments, being one of the panelists discussing how to expand investment frontiers for pension funds.
He decried lack of skills and weak regulatory environment for pension funds even as he advocated for the expansion of the pool of the funds to have more monies to invest in infrastructure.
Another panelist, who is the Chairman of Zambeef and Board Member of World Trade Centre, John Adeleke, supported most of the panelists that emphasis must be placed on financing infrastructures that will impact on the wellbeing of the contributors.
Adeleke made a case for investing pension funds in the health sector as this sector is hit by decay and deficit in terms of infrastructure.
However, the CIO of Africa Finance Corporation, Oliver Andrews, raised concerns on the risks involved in investing in infrastructure, expecially capital-intensive ones.
Chairman of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), Dr Sam Amadi addresses participants at the NERC/National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) organised cost reflective tariff workshop in Abuja recently