Soundbites from the Nigerian Economic Summit are still coming in.

This time it is from Nigeria’s super minister, Babatunde Fashola.

The minister is angry with Nigerian banks as he said they are not ready to fund infrastructure.

The minister said Nigeria has “made many poor choices,” which have adversely affected the country’s infrastructure growth.

“There is this argument or this belief that the kind of infrastructure we want to build will be funded by the private sector,” Fashola added.

“I think what we need to do is just put the numbers of the infrastructure funding we need on one side and also look at how much the private sector is able to put in and the terms and conditions upon which they would do so.

“I think if we do that we would make some very quick and smart choices. We have two projects that this administration has essentially concluded.

“The construction of the Apapa-Mile 2-Oworonshoki expressway to be undertaken by Dangote Construction. It will cost 72 billion naira. We also have Bodo-Bonny bridge, which is to be partly funded by government and NLNG.

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“Each of those parties are providing 60 billion naira each. Who in the Nigerian private sector has 60 billion naira that they can put in infrastructure? Because these are the big tickets items we are talking about."

Continuing, he said: “Let us be honest with ourselves. Of course, you know I supervised the first toll concession project in the history of this country — if I can say that.

“What happened? Immediately they wanted to index inflation, and cost and exchange rate into it, the people say they won’t pay, the opposition said just vote for us, we would cancel it. This is the climate in which we have to operate.

“The smartest thing for me is for the government to lead that way. Are the banks ready to fund infrastructure? Let us speak up, so we stop deceiving ourselves.

“Let’s be honest? We were here last year, how much has come to infrastructure? Only Dangote and NLNG. Who are the real entrepreneurs? How many of them can stand without government support?”

The minister then gave credit to Fidelity Bank for its role in the infrastructure space.

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