Experts fret as N398.1trn infrastructure shortfall threatens development
Experts have said that unless the Federal Government immediately reviewed and redefined the laws guiding Public Private Partnership (PPP) operations in Nigeria, to address the country’s $30billion infrastructure shortfall, the actualisation of sustainable development may remain threatened.
Speaking at the PPP Review Forum organised by an international Non Governmental Organisation (NGO), Centre for Ethics and Sustainable Development (CESD), in Lagos, the experts insisted that there is an urgent need to tackle the country’s infrastructure deficit.
The experts argued that if concerted efforts are not made, legal constraints may continue to pose risks, truncating efforts of PPP, which are key to addressing the deficits.
The Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC), headed by Aminu Dikko, had said the Federal Government alone needed at least N3.1 trillion ($16 billion) to bridge the infrastructure gap, even as a 30-year infrastructure development roadmap, known as the Integrated Infrastructure Master Plan (NIIMP), had projected that Nigeria required $2 trillion (N398.1 trillion) for infrastructure development over the next three decades.
The forum, which reviewed the legal framework for infrastructure delivery in Nigeria from the traditional and the PPP procurement models, identified major legal constraints to infrastructure delivery, and listed areas that would mitigate political risk, promote effective stakeholder management, encourage infrastructure investment, and foster gender and social inclusion.
Speakers included the Executive Director, CESD, Dr Olajumoke Akiode; Partner, J. O. Fabunmi & Co. and member Investment Climate Policy Commission of Nigeria, Olukayode Fabunmi; Associate Partner, Detail Commercial Solicitors, Seun Lofinmakin; Member, Nigeria Economic Summit Group (NESG), Agunbiade Fidel; and Senior Research Fellow, Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, David Oluwagbami,
They maintained that governments at all levels, especially at the centre, must take urgent actions for sustainable infrastructural delivery to the people.
Assessing the ICRC, set up by the federal government under the ICRC Act 2005, aimed at regulating PPP projects in Nigeria, the experts agreed that the legal framework of the Commission needs to be reviewed because its duties are not clearly defined especially in relation to PPP projects.
They decried the vagueness of ICRC’s definition of what Public-Private-Partnership is and what it should entail.
The experts decried the duplication of some laws in various infrastructure delivery Acts, calling for urgent reviews with the aim of producing a single document, which would address everything relating to infrastructure development in the country, for the purpose of eliminating duplications and overlaps.
They emphasised the reduction in the bureaucracy involved in the enforcement of the Public Procurement Act from the current reality where it could take at best six months to go through the process of procurement.
They also looked into the land grabbers’ law in the state, and the creation of a “Taskforce”, which they described identified as a step in the right direction, which ensures the prosecution and arrest of offenders. But they insisted that such “task force” ought to be a short-term intervention and their role should later on be returned to the Police.
The forum further identified the role of the local government in the execution of PPP projects, stressing that the weakening powers of the local governments are limitations to their potential in grassroots development.
“There is a need to capture the councils transactions properly by formalising, organising and leveraging on their existing model,” the forum noted.