ICRC Seeks Review of Concession Act

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To properly reposition the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC) as the regulatory concession agency in Nigeria to enable it fully deliver on its mandate, the Commission is seeking a review of its Establishment Act 2005.

The Communications Officer of the ICRC Mr. Patrick Ederaro who said this, argued that a review of the Act in line with best global practices would stimulate Public Private Partnership (PPP) in the country, which currently is at its lowest ebb due to some factors militating against the smooth operation of the Act.

Furthermore, Ederaro said in a statement that the ICRC was looking forward to inputs from key stakeholders in the sector to guide the lawmakers in the consideration of the Bill before them seeking among other things, an enhanced transparency in the PPP process to boost investors’ confidence, setting up of a special PPP account for accountability, and strengthening the Commission with penalty powers to speed up PPP transactions.

The review is also seeking to transfer all PPP powers to the ICRC to enable it function optimally. Established by an Act in 2005, the ICRC which came into full operation in 2009 has the mandate to carry out the following key concession regulatory functions: Develop and issue PPP policies and guidelines: Pre-contract regulations; Post-contract regulations; Champion PPP advocacy; Develop PPP market by promoting harmonised framework for development of infrastructure.

The Commission also has the additional task of creating environment for the private sector to enter into partnership with Government in financing, operations and management of infrastructure and allied services. The Commission is equally expected to monitor the implementation of PPP projects and midwife the complex arrangement that the PPP process entails, as well as, build capacity within MDAs to handle such arrangements themselves subsequently. The Commission mandate does not include project initiation, project development, approval, determination of output requirements and the duties of contracting authority.

The ICRC in collaboration with the World Bank recently concluded its Full Disclosure Framework aimed at de- risking PPP investments in the country to make them attractive to investors, particularly foreign ones with big portfolios.

There have been reported incidences of conflict of duties between the ICRC and the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE).
This conflict had been identified as one of the key barriers militating against the growth of PPP in the country, which could help government attract private capital to revamp its ailing infrastructure.

The government also pointed out in its Economic Recovery Growth Plan (ERGP) that for PPP to be effective in the country, there was need to review the ICRC Act.
In 2008, the federal government established the ICRC under the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (establishment, etc) Act, 2005. The ICRC was established to regulate PPP endeavours of the federal government aimed at addressing Nigeria’s physical infrastructure deficit which hampers economic development.