By Ndubuisi Francis
The Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) is to engage with key Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of the federal government to work out modalities for implementing the recent circular on the administration of public-private partnership (PPP) projects in the country.
The circular, among others, cleared the fog over which of the agencies— between the BPE and the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC) has the mandate to concession PPP projects in the country.
The Bureau said in a statement, yesterday that it had outlined steps, with timelines, in the next 12 months to two years to showcase its collective achievements through the implementation of the new circular on the administration of PPP projects in the country.
The Director General, Mr. Alex Okoh, who unveiled the agency’s plan at the end of a recent webinar organised by the BPE on deepening the Nigerian Infrastructure stock through Public-Private Partnership (PPP), said the first step involves engagement with key MDAs to work out modalities for implementing the circular.
According to him, in the first quarter of 2021, the Bureau would develop and circulate a template that would enable MDAs to document all the ongoing PPP transactions and their current status, adding that the BPE, working together with the MDAs, would host two additional webinars in the first quarter of next year.
“One of the webinars will be targeted at local and international financial institutions, including international development financial institutions. These are the partners that are expected to provide funding to investors in the Nigerian PPP market.
“The second webinar will be targeted at local and foreign construction companies, infrastructure management companies and other investors who are global players in the delivery of infrastructure through PPP arrangements,” he said.
In the same vein, he disclosed that in the second quarter of next year, the update or development of Nigeria’s pipeline of PPP projects would be finalised and launched, thus, signalling the commencement of the procurement phase of individual PPP projects across the country.
Okoh said: “Also, in the second quarter, a webinar will be held for governors and other sub-national leaders to obtain their buy-in given that they are critical stakeholders in the delivery of infrastructure, ” stressing that the last step would lead to the establishment of transaction implementation committees (TICs) where each committee will be established with membership drawn from the BPE and relevant MDAs in the third quarter, with the mandate to deliver specific projects contained in the approved national project pipeline.
He commended President Muhammadu Buhari for the bold and creative approach to infrastructure development in Nigeria even as he thanked the Vice President and Chairman of the National Council on Privatization (NCP), Prof. Yemi Osinbajo (SAN) for his advice and unrelenting commitment to ensuring that Nigeria is able to unlock investment capital into the infrastructure space, boost economic development and create jobs.
One of the key points of the recently-issued federal government circular revolves around re-emphasising that 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 rested the controversy over which of the agencies, BPE and ICRC sensure to the implementation of PPP projects in the country.
The circular equally stipulates that 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 Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC) continues to act as the regulatory agency for PPP transactions with powers to inspect, supervise and monitor the projects and processes in order to ensure compliance with relevant laws, policies and regulations.
The clarification was designed to lay to rest the protracted controversy between the BPE and ICRC over which of the agencies should oversee the implementation of PPP projects in the country.