By Eromosele Abiodun
The federal government has called for more private sector partnership to attract the needed investment to drive the maritime sector and boost the economy.
Director-General, Bureau of Public Enterprise (BPE), Mr. Alex Okoh, stated this during a webinar session monitored in Lagos.
The BPE boss reiterated the need for an increase in the private sector involvement in the financing critical infrastructural development in the maritime sector in order for the industry to become a major revenue earner for the federal government.
The webinar session tagged, “Public Private Partnership as alternative financing model in the maritime sector,” was hosted by the Nigeria-South Africa Chamber of Commerce and sponsored by SIFAX Group.
He cited the success of the port concession as a justification for more private sector funding stressing that investors have more to gain by investing in the country.
The BPE boss also revealed that the federal government’s revenue from the sector had more than doubled 10 years post-concession.
Okoh, further posited that competing needs for government’s lean resources has also made Public Private Partnership (PPP) a welcome option.
The BPE DG further revealed the federal government has simplified the PPP process, which now allows for private sector players to scout for projects that can be financed through PPP model.
According to the BPA boss, “The BPE has been entrusted with a significant part of the PPP responsibilities in Nigeria through the federal government’s circular of September 2020.
“What this means in effect is that players in the country’s maritime and other key sectors of the economy can identify and suggest projects to the government through the BPE or relevant MDAs.
“Once these projects are examined, approval will be given to the relevant parties to undertake an appraisal, feasibility study or outline of business case which will be scrutinised by the government. Thereafter, a tender will be published.”
He added: “The benefit of this is that the originator of the project will be allowed to provide a matching offer with that of the highest bidder and if the party is able to match this offer, they will be declared the preferred bidder.”
He urged members of the private sector to carefully identify the gap in transport infrastructures in the nation’s maritime sector and work towards providing solutions to these gaps.
Okoh noted that such investments in and around Nigeria’s ports will help reduce the high shipping and terminal charges and local transport to warehouse costs which will in turn make the country’s port more competitive and business friendly in comparison to other African countries.
In his remarks, Group Executive Director, Corporate Services, SIFAX Group, Mr. Bode Ojeniyi, the sponsors of the webinar, says that the subject matter was timely and germane given the huge infrastructural deficit in the sector that could be addressed with PPP.
He, however, urged that the government should do better at making the country more business friendly by removing the crippling bureaucratic bottlenecks that are currently making investments in any sector very unattractive.