Raheem Akingbolu writes on how corporate organisations can key into Public-Private Partnership to give back to the society.
All over the world, Public-Private Partnership (PPP) has become a key driver necessary for development and economic growth of any nation. Given the fact that government alone cannot be left to provide needed public infrastructure owing to paucity of funds and other constraints, the place of the private sector in supporting the government to improve the standard of living for the populace has therefore become crucial and significant.
According to the World Bank, Public-private partnerships (PPPs) are a mechanism for government to procure and implement public infrastructure and/or services using the resources and expertise of the private sector. Where governments are facing ageing or lack of infrastructure and require more efficient services, a partnership with the private sector can help foster new solutions. Although PPP arrangements are largely seen as tools to increase the pace of development in Nigeria, some corporate organisations have chosen to drive their corporate social responsibility through these partnerships.
Just recently, this type of partnership arrangement was exemplified as Nigerian Bottling Company Limited, the non-alcoholic beverage giant entered into a partnership with Kano State Government to inaugurate several education and water projects in the state. The project, according to the Memorandum of Understanding, is poised to impact no fewer than 1 million people in about 20 communities living within and around the area where the business operates.
The list of the projects that were inaugurated and presented to the people include a refurbished Kano State Water Board Laboratory in Panshekara, the provision of Ultra-modern Water Testing equipment for the laboratory, two Tube Wells drilled and connected to the Main Water Supply Network that directly provides water to about one million residents around the Madobi area, a block of Classrooms and furniture donated to Medile Primary School and the provision of Water Supply to Challawa community.
In addition to this, the company also facilitated the training of senior managers from the Kano State Water Board on Performance Management and Team Maintenance. The company also laid 15 kilometers of new environmentally friendly High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE) water pipe lines and conducted a training for Kano State Water Board (KBSWB) technicians trained on maintenance of the special HDPE Pipes.
To the management of Nigerian Bottling Company Limited, the provision of these facilities and projects come as a fitting reward for the tremendous goodwill and relentless support received from Kano state government as well as people of the state since it commenced operations in 1982.
Speaking at the official handover ceremony for all the projects, the representative of Managing Director of Kano State Water Board, who is the General Manager, Productions of the State Water Board, Ibraheem Saad who expressed gratitude to NBC for its unwavering commitment and support from the conceptualization of the projects to their successful execution, explained that the Water Board was happy to note that these investments would bringing lasting solution to the water challenges confronting parts of the state.
While presenting the water and education projects to the people of the state, the Managing Director, Nigerian Bottling Company, George Polymenakos, expressed his profound appreciation to the Kano State Government for its invaluable support to the Coca-Cola system over the years stressing that the delivery of these community projects comes as a fulfilment of the company’s pledged contribution to the development of the state and the nation as a whole.
“We believe that our communities are the bedrock of our business. If our communities are healthy, prosperous and sustainable, only then can our business become strong and grow. This is why we invest in viable programs such as these to develop the productive capacity of the people and drive the sustainable development of our communities”, he said.
With regards to the education projects delivered by NBC, he said “Education is one of the most important investments a country can make in its people and its future. In line with this, we have constructed a block of classrooms with staff office and provided furniture for pupils of Medile Primary School, Kano. This, we hope, will support government’s efforts at bringing education to the doorstep of every child,”
Polymenakos explained that these projects would help in addressing water and other issues confronting the people of Kano while also assisting the company its commitment to scale up its business operations within the state to create more jobs for the teeming youth.
He revealed that the company spent over 4 million Euros on the various projects as a reflection of the confidence the company has in doing business in the state adding that this further demonstrates its commitment to the wellbeing of the communities where it does business.
In his own remarks, the representative of the Emir of Kano, the Seriki Fulani Jaedanawa of Kano, Abubakar Gwadabe Buhari commended NBC for its show of concern and commitment in meeting some of the important needs of communities in the state.
“As a district head, I know the sufferings of our rural communities. I must say NBC has done well in alleviating their hardship. Let me quickly add that the Emir of Kano is indeed happy with these projects given the fact that it addresses two major challenges, education and water availability in these communities” he said.
On his part, Group Quality, Safety & Environment Director, Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Company (CCHBC), Zoltan Syposs who was part of the conceptualization of the idea that birthed the projects commended the Kano State Government alongside NBC team on the successful completion saying that the projects form part of Coca-Cola Hellenic 2025 commitment that is focused on making the environment sustainable.
In his remarks, Water Resources & Technologies Manager, Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Company (CCHBC), Nils Deeke who flew in from Switzerland for the inauguration said the investment in Kano state is in line with the commitment to give back to the society while also playing a crucial role in the economic development of the state.
Deeke stated that the huge investment in those projects comes as appreciation for Kano residents who have been keeping faith and supporting the business for close to four decades.
“It is not just enough to sell our products, we want to make positive impact in the lives of people as well as the communities around us. As we speak, over 20 communities have been provided with water supplies. We will also build capabilities that would ensure that the facilities provided are well maintained”, he explained.
Like it is currently doing, the company had made significant footprint in CSR which are seen in different areas that cut across education, health, access to water among others.