Omisore: Why Nigeria Has Poor Infrastructure

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 By Nume Ekeghe

A former Deputy Governor of Osun State, Senator Iyiola Omisore has identified several reasons why the Nigeria’s infrastructure development has not moved beyond the rhetoric.

Omisore, who was a guest speaker at the 2016 African Engineering Conference, organised by the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) in Uyo, said this in a presentation titled: “Nigeria’s Infrastructure Deficit:  Beyond The Limitation of Finance In Public Private Partnership and Project Procurement Options.”
Omisore explained that global perspectives to public private partnership (PPP) as best approach to infrastructural development, and the parochial factors militating against its successful implementation in Nigeria.

“While it is recognised that the PPP model has been deployed to execute a few public projects in Nigeria, its utility value has been mostly felt in Lagos state where the authorities have  partnered the private sectors for  design, finance and management  of public utilities. Even then, the projects involved are hardly ones that can recommend  themselves to a sustainable management status under an ideal PPP model.

“Outside of Lagos State, cursory survey of the infrastructure procurement by state governments is still largely tied to the old model of contract awards to private firms to execute a project designed and financed by governments. Thus, on the average, Nigeria has fared, rather poorly, especially in view of the country’s need for requisite infrastructure for nation’s potential developmental capacity,” he said.

Speaking further, Omisore submitted that “my intervention in the following submission was anchored on a very straight forward argument to the extent that, even with real needs and potential returns on investment by investors, inadequate provisions in the legal framework to sufficiently safeguard investors and financiers interest, may continue to constitute major road blocks for Nigeria at all levels of authorities in the country’s PPP drive for the much needed public procurement of utilities and services.”

He noted that though there was shortage of investable funds in the international market,  Nigeria’s crisis appeared compounded by the integrity profile of its legal framework for an ideal PPP model.

“In the final analysis, and without going into the details of the shortfalls in the legal framework, as has been identified in many  studies, see, for instance, Essia and Yusuf, 2013, suffice to say, however,  that  the  Infrastructure Concession Regulatory  Commission    [ICRC] Act  of  2005, the Public Procurement Act 2007 regulations issued by ICRC governing  the  PPP process and  various state laws as described in each State’s PPP policies  falls  short  of necessary regulatory  framework for proper implementation of  PPP projects, most  importantly  with respect  to  dispute resolution during the tenor of the contract,” he added.