For Nigeria to unlock rapid development and attract new investment in the infrastructure space, there is a need for government to support projects with right policies and regulations.

According to experts, who spoke at a media parley organised by H+K Strategies held in Lagos on Tuesday, Nigeria needs to adopt the right regulatory framework and policies to encourage new investment in infrastructure especially from foreign investors.

They also stressed the need for the government to ensure a secure and stable environment stating that major fears of foreign investors for Nigeria aside parlous infrastructure include insecurity.

Specifically, Co-Head of Africa Practice, Hogan Lovells, Arun Velusami said because infrastructure financing is a long term capital project, what investors want is assurance that there would be a consistent and supportive policy towards their investment.

He pointed out that for many investors, Nigeria remains an important part of their long-term Africa portfolio strategy, adding that the country is currently competing with other countries to access international funding, just as there are a number of countries ready to grab such investment.

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“Investors and lenders will want to know if the government is ultimately standing behind the obligations and utility, because infrastructure financing and investment is long term in nature. They need to know if the government will support their investment in the long term.

“So, if the government can make Nigeria an attractive destination for international investors and developers to build and operate, that investment will come here. When an investor is looking to develop, he goes to the most suitable and attractive destination.”

Also speaking, the Chair of Africa Practice at Hogan Lovells, Andrew Skipper said there is an urgent need for Nigeria to build its own domestic capacity in infrastructure, especially in the power sector.

According to him, the government needs to improve on power generation and transmission to ensure businesses optimise their potential while getting a return on investments.

“Africans need infrastructure and it needs power to build infrastructure and without power and infrastructure, you can not industrialise and without industrialisation, your demographics are going to be challenging.”

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He pointed out that there are foreign companies seeking to invest in the Nigerian power sector to stimulate activities in the industry, urging the government to make the environment more attractive to develop, build and operate power plants.

“Part of Nigeria’s goals should be to continue expansion in industrialisation as a major manufacturing hub for Africa and this has to go hand in hand with the need to stabilise the power sector and increase the power generating capacity, distribution and transmitting capacity.”