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By NBF News
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Minister of Finance, Mr Olusegun Aganga, at the weekend, put Nigeria's infrastructure deficit at $100 billion, while imploring the private sector to join forces with the government to provide the infrastructure needs of the country.

Speaking at the opening of the 51st edition of the Nigerian Economic Society (NES) in Abuja, the minister said that the government could only provide the enabling environment for investment but cannot generate all the capital that is required.

'The government cannot work alone. It can work to create the enabling environment for investment but cannot generate all the capital that is required. As an example, the size of Nigeria's infrastructure deficit is estimated at more than US$100 billion. This is a very significant amount of capital. Therefore, the Administration's actions are aimed at increasing the attractiveness of the investment climate through the adoption of liberal and market-oriented economic policies,' he said.

He called on both the local and foreign investors to partner with the government not only to achieve its own objectives but also for investors to achieve attractive returns. According to him, investing in Nigeria is a win-win situation for all stakeholders adding that Nigeria is a nation with significant human resources, with a population of over 140 million people, close to three times the population of South Africa which, for now, is the foremost destination for investment in Africa.

He noted that by 2050, Nigeria is expected to be the 6th largest country in the world, with an estimated population of 287 million people. 'It is the largest market in Sub-Saharan Africa with a potential that stretches into the West African sub region. In addition, a significant proportion of the labour force is educated, intelligent, hardworking and available to work at attractive economic prices.

'The size of the Nigerian market is all the more attractive because of the growing and upwardly mobile middle class and the on-going consumer explosion that is being experienced. As an example, the story of the telecommunications sector is one that many are familiar with. It is one of the fastest-growing sectors of the economy and was only privatised under 10 years ago.

'There are 75 million mobile subscribers, yet there is only a 53 per cent penetration level. This is just the tip of the iceberg as Nigeria's large population makes it a ready market for investors in manufacturing, agriculture, mining & solid minerals, construction, information technology, hospitality and entertainment' he said.