Weak property right stalls capital inflow into Nigeria-Utomi …Bemoans indiscriminate revocation of C of O
Nigeria’s quest to develop her obsolete transport infrastructure may continue to be elusive due to low level of private investment inflow occasioned by weak property rights in the country, says founder and promoter of Centre For Values in Leadership CVL, Prof. Pat Utomi
Utomi, who spoke at the just concluded National Transport Summit organised by Chartered Institute of Transport Administration Nigeria, CIoTA in Abuja with the theme “Unlocking the Potential of Transportation for Sustainable Development”, also warned governors over needless and indiscriminate revocation of Certificate of Occupancy C- of -O and other land titles.
He noted that the world over, funds for the development of transport and other infrastructure do not come from the national budgets, a development that makes it expedient for Nigeria to remove all impediments to inflow of investments into the country such as strengthening the property right laws.
“People do not invest in a country where property rights are threatened. In Nigeria, governors revoke C-of-O’s that were approved by their predecessors in order to reallocate such titles to their cronies and friends.
“We are talking of landed property that people have invested billions of naira to acquire and build only to be revoked due to political considerations. People do not come to countries like that”, Utomi warned.
He argued that over the years, capital has remained in the hands of a few people, adding that less that 10 people in California, the United States for instance, have enough capital that could address the infrastructure gap in Nigeria but that the right environment must be put in place to attract such huge capital.
Professor Utomi, who is a leading economist therefore, admonished the Federal and State Governments to jettison political interference in contracts and concessioned projects, adding that the country needed to create an enabling environment that supports indigenous and foreign private sector investments to develop transport infrastructure in the country.
According to him, this practice of frivolous interruption of legitimate infrastructure concession agreements and contracts have scared Nigerian private sector investors as well as foreign direct investments, while the nation suffers the consequences of dilapidated transport infrastructure.
He made a strong case for the development of strong institutions that can hold politicians back, arguing that politicians in the United Kingdom or anywhere in the world are not different from those in Nigeria but that the only difference would be strong institutions that hold them back, which are absent in Nigeria.
“We need very strong institutions that hold politicians back, the politicians in the UK are not different or better than those in Nigeria just that there are strong institutions that hold them back”, Utomi also said.
Utomi, who believe that Nigeria is central and crucial for the development of other parts of the African continent, noted that it has become expedient for the country to develop her infrastructure and systems so that other African nations will take a cue from her and develop theirs, citing the flying gees concept of the Asian nations.
Noting the strategic role of transport and logistics in economic development, Prof. Utomi said: “China’s dramatic rise is due to the fact that they were able to turn around their logistics sector.
“Africa will not make the progress that it is destined to make, unless Nigeria leads the flying geese. What transformed South East Asia economy? One country, Singapore began to get it right, and others looked across the border and joined in the development stride. Before you know it, Malaysia, Thailand and others had their economies transformed.”