Nigeria’s huge infrastructural deficit: Public Private Partnership to the rescue

by Tosin Adesina

“The nation has a huge infrastructure deficit for which we require foreign capital and expertise to supplement whatever resources we can marshal at home. In essence, increased engagement with the outside world is called for as we seek public private partnerships in our quest for enhanced capital and expertise. This is the way of the new world for all countries in the 21st century.”

The statement above was made by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Opening ceremony of the 55th Annual General Conference of the Nigerian Bar Association on August 23, 2015, while declaring open the program.

The statement was apt and a true reflection of our infrastructural gap in Nigeria.

The infrastructural deficit of Nigeria will require more than 20 trillion Naira commitment, as a result, the best method to fast track and address the gap is through Public Private Partnership (PPP).

PPP exists in different forms such as: Build Operate and Transfer, Build Own and Operate – The two methods can be used depending on preference and legal provisions.

In Nigeria, PPP is regulated by the Infrastructure Concession and Regulatory Commission (ICRC).

The function of the ICRC is to serve as a liaison between the government and the private sector to enhance effective delivery of PPP Projects but the result has not been encouraging enough.

Developed countries across the world have used this model to quicken their growth process especially UK, US among others, while Nigeria is yet to buy into this innovation fully.

Government at all levels have taken loans to finance projects but the money ends up being diverted while the project remains uncompleted.

The PPP model used for the construction of Lekki-Epe Expressway was condemned at the beginning due to the erection of toll gates but today Lagosians are better off as the road is maintained from time to time. Same as the Eko Atlantic City emerging on the lagoon and, the Blue BRT from Ikorodu to TBS are examples of projects that have been achieved through PPP.

The quagmire being experienced on Lagos-Ibadan expressway will be better addressed through a transparent PPP, as the continuous handling of projects by successive governments have but failed.

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