The Japanese Government on Thursday reaffirmed its support for the promotion of high quality infrastructure to enhance the socio-economic development of Nigeria.
Mr Masaya Otsuka, Counsellor, Embassy of Japan in Nigeria, said this at the Nigeria-Japan Public-Private Conference for High Quality Infrastructure in Lagos.
The conference was organised by the Ministry of Lands, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) of Japan, the Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO), Lagos State Government and the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI).
According to him, Japan is committed to the growth of Nigeria’s economy by promoting quality infrastructure that is cost efficient and resilient.
Otsuka said Japan acknowledged the infrastructure challenges confronting Nigeria and was ready to support the country to overcome it in a sustainable way.
“Infrastructure forms a basis for economic growth, improves the quality of life of its citizens and places a country on a sustainable path.
“If you are thinking of development, you have to make it a long term programme that will be sustainable to boost economic growth.
“Japan has a wealth of experience in building quality infrastructure using advanced technology that are made to last.
“We believe in Nigeria’s future. We are ready to strengthen investment in Nigeria.”
Mr Yasuki Kaibori, Deputy Minister, Japan Construction, Engineering and Real Estate Industry, said Japan could support Nigeria through the sharing of experiences and technologies.
Kaibori said the conference was to strengthen Japan’s bilateral economic relationship with Nigeria.
Mrs Nike Akande, President of LCCI, said the conference was timely considering the critical level of Nigeria’s infrastructural deficit.
She said a report from the African Development Bank (AFDB) estimated Nigeria’s core stock of infrastructure at 20-25 per cent of GDP, compared with 70 per cent recorded by other middle income countries.
“This leaves an infrastructure deficit of 300 billion dollars, while there are considerations on the use of pension funds for infrastructure financing and the 2016 federal budget allocating N1.8 trillion to capital expenditure.
“There is definitely need for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) to deepen finance for infrastructure in Nigeria.”
According to her, the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC) revealed that N3.1 trillion is needed to bridge the infrastructure gap in the transport sector.
Dr Katsumi Hirano, Executive Vice President of JETRO, said Nigeria had to develop her infrastructure to strengthen the competitiveness of the manufacturing and agriculture sector.
Mr Bello Husseini, Charge d’affaires ad interim, Embassy of Nigeria in Japan said the relationship between Nigeria and Japan dates to 1960.
Husseini said Japan had supported Nigeria in healthcare, education, capacity building, research and development and infrastructure. (NAN)