James Emejo in Abuja
The Director General/Chief Executive, Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC), Mr. Chidi Izuwah, has said the country will have to compete for available private sector funds if it intends to bridge current infrastructure deficit.
Speaking at the opening of the conference of the Nigeria PPP Network (NPPPN) and PPP Units Consultative Forum (3PUCF), he said Nigeria was in a race for global capital with other countries, and must rise to the occasion to attract private capital for the execution of public private partnerships (PPP).
He also said between 2010 and 2018, under the regulatory guidance of the ICRC, the federal government had approved PPP projects worth about $8 billion.
Borrowing the words of former US President, John F. Kennedy, who said, “America has good roads, not because America is rich, but America is rich because it has good roads,” Izuwah said likewise, Nigeria cannot have economic prosperity without goods infrastructure, especially roads.
He said: “The implication of this quote from the 60s is an eternal economic truism. No country can become economically buoyant without good infrastructure.”
Nevertheless, he said as at June, 2019, 69 post-contract PPP projects were under implementation at the ICRC Projects Disclosure Portal, which is the first disclosure portal in the world, established in collaboration with the World Bank.
He added that there are 139 pre-contract projects at development andprocurement phases at ICRC as at October 31, 2019.
But he said infrastructure development in the country is still confronted with challenges of budgetary allocation which is often insufficient to cover responsibilities adequately, especially project development.
He listed other constraints to include inconsistency in PPP project pipelines (long term planning) adding that regulatory and enforcement powers in the ICRC Act required an amendment.
Izuwah said inadequate project preparation and technical skills and knowledge gaps remained a challenge and called for funding to upscale skills through the ICRC Infrastructure & PPP Academy.
With the theme: “Accelerating Bankable PPP Project Development in Nigeria- The Afreximbank Project Preparation Facility (APPPF) Meeting,” the forum had sought to boost funding for investment ready projects, thereby bridging the infrastructure deficit in the country.