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.