Director-General, ICRC, Mr. Aminu Dikko

By Obinna Chima

The Director-General, Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC), Mr. Aminu Dikko has described Public-Private Partnership (PPP) as the best option to finance Nigeria’s wide infrastructure gap.

Dikko stated this in an interview on the sidelines of a two-day monitoring by ICRC of the Lekki Deep Sea Project and Kirikiri Lighter Terminal I and II, both in Lagos. He was accompanied by a team of experts from the Commission. The ICRC also monitored the reclamation, sand-filling and infrastructural development of Festac Phase 2 in Lagos.

Dikko said the concession of the projects through PPP was to resuscitate infrastructure decay.

The director-general pointed out that slump in the country’s revenue as a result of the drop in crude oil prices has made the case for PPP stronger.

Dikko added: “The public private partnership should not be seen as privatisation; PPP allows the private sector to repair and rebuild infrastructure as well as recoup their investment for a stipulated time. The ICRC is involved in the monitoring of the projects to ensure delivery at the expected time.’’

Speaking on the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) concession of the Kirikiri Lighter Terminals I and II, he said the NPA would rebuild the terminals, manage it for a number of years in order to recoup its investments.

“Similarly, in the port, you have people who have been given concession of some terminals; they do not use it and they sublet to other people. If you look at the magnitude of the initial investments, you see that they have been seriously under-utilised,’’ he said.

The ICRC boss said that all investments and equipment bought at the end of a concession period belong to government and not the private sector.
He said that “same goes to the concession of the National Theatre which is not privatised because government does not want Nigerians to be short-changed, particularly the future generation.’

“In terms of the National Theatre, the private sector is coming with some relationship with some hotels abroad. They will turn the massive land surrounding the National Theatre into a city that will have hotels, offices and water resources where children can play. The private sector will modernise it to generate more funds for the government,’’ he said.

For the Lekki Deep Seaport, the investors include the federal government, Lagos state government and a private investor, Singapore-based Tolaram Group.

The essence is to ensure that the project is delivered on time for the benefit of investors and Nigerians as a whole.

The Chairman of the Tolaram Group, Nigeria, Mr. John Mastroudes assured that the multi-billion naira new deep seaport situated would be ready in 2019.

He assured that the port would generate employment, help stimulate activities, reduce the menace of tanker drivers in the Apapa area of Lagos as well as other benefits to the economy. He explained that Lekki port will be the deepest seaport in the Sub-Saharan Africa.

“This is a project that we have been working on for some time now and everybody knows the efforts we have put in to get to where we are today. We have not achieved financial close for a few reasons. Not all the partners have put in their equity. Secondly, the lenders would want to be sure that there are going to be roads to help the port.

“But we are in a very lucky position because this area was properly planned and is one of the focus areas of the Lagos state government,” Mastroudes added.