Boosting Lagos Infrastructure through PPP

Sanwo Olu

Tosin Adekunle

The economic growth of a nation does not happen in isolation but is dependent on various factors to act as catalysts to growth. One of those factors according to the is said to be physical capital or infrastructure. Physical capital such as roads, factories and machinery are key components of an economy and can boost the growth of the economy.

This is because an investment in these areas translates to a lower cost of economic activity which will then trickle down to a better life for the citizens.
The World Bank estimates that every one per cent of government funds spent on infrastructure leads to an equivalent one per cent increase in Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which invariably means that there is a correlation between any meaningful inputs in infrastructure development which reflects on economic growth indices, hence the value of infrastructure cannot be underplayed.

The Nigerian government in recognition of this, established the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC) under the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (establishment, etc) Act, 2005. The ICRC was established to regulate Public Private Partnership (PPP) endeavours of the Federal Government aimed at addressing Nigeria’s physical infrastructure deficit which hampers economic development.

PPP Operations in Lagos
In Lagos State, the Public Private Partnership (PPP) legal framework was established in 2011 to boost investor-confidence in the availability, suitability, and security of the investment opportunities in Lagos.

The Office of Public-Private-Partnerships (OPPP) in Lagos has risen to this challenge and has tackled major infrastructural projects in the state. With the support of the Lagos State Government, led by Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the PPP projects have touched on major developmental indices in the state.

Health: In recognition of the global challenges the world is currently facing in light of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Lagos State Government, through the PPP office has embarked on a collaborative initiative with relevant stakeholders and the Lagos State Ministry of Health to develop a sustainable Smart Health Information Platform (SHIP) to connect the entire health ecosystem in Lagos State.

This will enable connectivity and strengthening of the healthcare system and governance in the state to deliver better, faster, and smarter healthcare services. This project aims to enable a swift and efficient healthcare delivery system and ensure widespread access to healthcare, to measure and monitor all health cases in the State. The state is currently in the process of receiving responses from interested proponents.

The state also recently commissioned the Maternal and Child Centre in the Eti-Osa local government area as part of its efforts to ensure the provision of accessible, affordable, and quality healthcare to Lagosians. The 110-bed facility is fully equipped with X-ray machines, ultrasound machines, Laboratory, Radiology and Pharmaceutical Services through a PPP arrangement structured by the OPPP. It also has a neonatal unit for premature babies, labor ward with delivery rooms, emergency clinic, a theatre for Cesarean sections in complicated deliveries and much more.

The facility has received over 50,000 visitors since inception with more than 20,000 residents accessing its services. From 2008 till date, the State Government has built 8 Maternal Child Centres across the State in Isolo, Ikorodu, Ifako-Ijaye, Amuwo-Odofin, Gbaja (Surulere), Ajeromi and Alimosho. The Eti-Osa facility brings the number up to eight.

With the approval of the state governor, the OPPP has also put out an Expression of Interest for the development of a medical park. This is the development of a state-of-the-art medical village staffed with respected professionals within the health-care industry that will have all medical facilities and infrastructure available within the same location and eliminate the need for movement from one location to another.

Infrastructure: The OPPP has also been involved with major infrastructural developments in Lagos like the Blue Line and the Red Line rail projects but the most ambitious project so far has been the 4th mainland bridge. The fourth mainland bridge is billed to be the longest bridge in West Africa when completed. It is a greenfield tolled road and a 38 km bridge which will extend from the Abraham Adesanya axis in Ajah to transverse the northeast towards the lagoon shoreline of Lagos-Ibadan express via Owutu/Isawo in Ikorodu. The aim of the bridge is to relieve the severe congestion often experienced on the 3rd mainland bridge while at the same time, opening new areas of development.

The project includes the development of adjacent real estates within the proposed routes of the bridge. This is a project that seemed to have defied previous administrations but now, with the leadership of the Director-General of the Lagos PPP office, Mr. Ope George, there has been tangible movement on the project. Potential proponents to carry out the project have been shortlisted and the State is currently evaluating each proponent for eligibility for the next stage which is the selection/bidding process.

Connectivity: The Lagos State House of Assembly recently approved Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s request for a Unified Fibre Infrastructure and Connectivity Project under the state’s Public Private Partnerships Law. This may not have been unconnected to the fact that the Coronavirus demonstrated that Nigeria was yet to fully embrace the use of the internet and remote working and this was due in part to lack of infrastructure. The project, according to the Chairman of the House Committee on Public Private Partnership (PPP), Hon. Lukmon Olumoh (Ajeromi/Ifelodun 1) would involve the deployment of unified fibre duct infrastructure for carrying telecommunications cables and other wired infrastructure to support operators of telecommunications and other relevant utilities, as well as provide infra and connectivity requirements for Lagos State.

Education: The Lagos State University was established in 1983 as a multi-campus institution but for 36 years, the school had functioned without residential hostels. All that changed last year when the Lagos state government under the state Public Private Partnership (PPP) policy signed a Build, Operate and Transfer (BOT) deal with six private property developers to develop a 6,016 bed ultra-modern hostel on the LASU, Ojo campus. The hostel will consist of 16 blocks with 94 rooms per block and ground-breaking for construction commencement is scheduled for next month.

Housing: The Office of Public-Private-Partnerships (OPPP) Lagos is also participating in the housing sector with projects like the Ilubirin Foreshore Estate Projects to ease the challenges of accommodation faced by Lagosians. The Ilubirin Estate Project is a development of residential and mixed-use real estate on approximately 28.6 hectares of land at the Ilubirin Foreshore Area of Ikoyi. This public housing, commercial and leisure project sitting on reclaimed land on the bank of the 3rd mainland bridge was visualized to address the housing deficit in Lagos and ensure that more Lagos residents become homeowners of houses built to global and international standards.

Another PPP project to boost infrastructural development and tackle the housing deficit is the development of 1,000 hectares in the North-West quadrant of the Lekki Free Zone into an industrial and logistics focused mixed-use hub called Alaro City. Alaro City will be home to businesses of all sizes and people of all incomes. It is directly on the Lekki-Epe Expressway and adjacent to the new Lagos International Airport and West-Africa’s largest deep seaport. This project has been lauded as an economic miracle because it is estimated that upon completion, it will have created over 200,000 jobs.

Alaro City is surrounded by major Nigerian and International companies along that axis and the city is billed to be not just another city in Nigeria but a gateway to Nigeria and Africa.

A look around the country at some of the projects executed under the Public Private Partnership model shows that these projects are enjoying a high level of success. Projects like the Murtala Muhammed Airport 2 (popularly called MM2) between Bi-Courtney Limited and the Federal Government and the delivery of 3.4bcf of Gas by 2020 between NNPC and Seplat Petroleum Development Company Limited are just examples of a few of these projects.

There is therefore no gainsaying the fact that Nigeria has benefitted immensely from the Public Private Partnership model and Lagos state has set an example for other states to follow by being in the forefront of boosting its economic and infrastructural development through the PPP model.