Ndubuisi Francis in Abuja
The Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo has declared that the new federal government circular on the administration of Public-Private Partnership (PPP) projects in the country has laid to rest the controversy between the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) and the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC) on the implementation of PPPS.
Until now, both agencies of the federal government had been enmeshed in controversy over the implementation of PPPS.
He explained that with the new circular, the BPE) shall be responsible for the concession of public enterprises and infrastructure already listed in the First and Second Schedules of the Public Enterprises Act.
The Vice President, who made the clarification at a webinar on “deepening the Nigerian infrastructure stock through Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs), organised by the BPE, noted that in addition, the BPE shall act on behalf of the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) as the counterparty on all infrastructure projects being developed on a PPP basis while the ICRC continues to act as the regulatory agency for PPP transactions with powers to inspect, supervise and monitor the projects and processes to ensure compliance with relevant laws, policies and regulations.
Osinbajo said it was expected that “this new policy direction would provide clarity to stakeholders and foster the improvement of PPP programmes in the country. Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) as well as the multilateral agencies and our development partners, are urged to support the PPP policy objectives and institutional arrangements already put up by government”.
He, however, said that the federal government was willing to dialogue and incorporate suggestions from stakeholders with a view to further strengthening Nigeria’s PPP framework.
In his address at the event, the BPE Director General, Mr. Alex Okoh said the federal government had taken a significant step towards making Nigeria an investment destination for infrastructure development by issuing the circular, adding that further to document, the Bureau would provide support to MDAs on PPP transactions and contract management:
Such support, he said would include to collaborate with MDAs and provide support in the screening and appraisal of all the identified projects to determine their suitability as PPP projects in line with the ICRC guidelines, ensure that all the necessary steps required to comply with regulatory requirements (at every phase of the PPP project life cycle) are followed.
Okoh added that the BPE would also promote PPP arrangements within government to ensure that projects that would attract market interest were not procured using traditional methods, as well as offer experience and specialist skills acquired over the last 30 years in managing transactions involving local and international private sector investors, among others.
Stating that the Bureau would also act as a knowledge centre by collating and disseminating information and knowledge about PPPs to all stakeholders,
Okoh said with the clarity of the circular, it was now time for all the relevant stakeholders, the MDAs, the PPP unit of the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget & National Planning, the ICRC, the development partners, transaction advisers, National Assembly, and the organised labour and every stakeholder, in the infrastructure space to work together towards bridging the country’s huge infrastructure gap.