Pen­sion funds can save Africa from in­fras­truc­tural deficit, de­cay – Pan­elists

Daily Trust - - BUSINESS - By Fran­cis Arinze Iloani

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.

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“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

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