Legal Framework Will Determine Private Sector Participation in Infrastructure Devt


Chinedu Eze

Stakeholders in aviation and allied sector that gathered recently to discuss private sector participation in the development of infrastructure in aviation and other areas of the economy have urged the federal government to establish a legal framework, which will define the process and procedure of private, public partnership (PPP).

In the communiqué issued at the end of the conference on privatisation/ concession of the Nigerian airports in Lagos, industry stakeholders blamed the fluidity and arbitrariness of government rules for the failure of past concession and privatisation agreements, remarking that government must determine the level of participation of the private sector in the provision of public utilities and the incentives to attract investors.

The conference, which was convened by CheckIn Nigeria, an industry resource and consultancy outfit was borne out of growing concerns and agitation on the vexed issue of privatisation / concession of airport facilities.

The template for discussions was predicated on growing awareness over the subject of airport concessions, which has assumed fundamental dimensions flowing from drive by government to concession some airports with the terminals in Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt and Kano as the pilot.

Setting the tone for discussions, the convener of the conference and Chief Executive Officer, Check In Nigeria, Mr. Michael Chikeka , while welcoming guests said the conference became imperative because of the avalanche of issues raised on the subject matter.

He noted that the differing concerns and views expressed on the subject matter; Airport Concessions/ Privatisation were borne by concerns that are both genuine, fundamental and germane.

He noted that the critical questions borders on the determination of the extent of concession, the areas of concession as well as its duration.
He noted that questions have been asked on the model to be adopted, whether it would be driven around the template of PPP or build, operate and transfer (BOT).

“Such framework most industry analysts think that all these are issues that should be properly addressed and sorted out before inviting new concessionaires. The existing level playing field between government and current concessionaires will be important, hence the need for government to address all outstanding rancor, with a view to smoothening the agreement before embarking on new concessions .”

He said the conference once again presents another opportunity to re- evaluate their contributions to the industry if indeed it provides a ready compass to drive the concept of concession for Nigerian airports.