Government PPP option, reliable to bridge Infrastructure deficit

Florence Adidi, Abuja

Nigeria’s Minister of State, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, has said that the government Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement is a reliable option for bridging Nigeria’s infrastructure deficit.

Mrs. Ahmed stated this, in her remarks at the opening of a Capacity Building Training on Public Private Partnership (PPP) Management in the Public Sector organized for Federal Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), by her Ministry in collaboration with the Institute for Public Private Partnership at the Hawthorn Suites, Abuja.

She explained that, the training was organized to enhance Nigeria’s national PPP management capability, which is in line with the priority of the present Administration towards building a competitive economy by improving the business environment for increased private sector investments in infrastructure development.

The gaps in PPP management capabilities in Federal MDAs have been identified as major constraints to optimizing PPP investments. The skill sets and readiness to manage investments that may come in the form of PPP    initiatives are generally inadequate and sometimes non-existent” She said.

The Minister explained that, Nigeria’s Integrated Infrastructure Master Plan [NIIMP], sets out to raise the country’s stock from the current 20-25% of GDP in 2014 to at least 70% by 2043. It also estimates a huge funding requirement of over USD166 billion during the period 2014-2018

Accordingly, she noted that, the current economic realities in the local and global environment, occasioned by falling oil prices in the international market and shortfall in daily oil output have seriously constrained Government to increase investment in infrastructure development. This, she added, further makes a strong case for exploring alternative financing options, including PPP models.

The NIIMP envisages increased participation of private   sector through different PPP arrangements. Government is   expected to leverage on up to USD25 billion through infrastructure PPPs in the first 5 years of NIIMP. This will require properly designed and managed PPP processes in order to reap the full benefits of PPP financing and to mitigate negative unintended consequences She stated.

Accordingly, Mrs Ahmed noted the obvious inadequate institutional capacity in the MDAs, which she pointed out that, is not enough to enable Nigeria attract the envisaged PPP investments in an increasingly competitive global infrastructure market.

It is for this reason, she explained that, the Ministry of Budget and National Planning (MBNP) engaged the services of the Institute for Public Private Partnership (IP3) to build the institutional capacity of relevant MDAs in order to drive Government PPP investment strides to successfully manage PPP projects.

The training programme has been carefully designed to    expose participants to PPP investment opportunities, deepen their knowledge of PPP models and delivery mechanisms, and bridge skills and orientation gaps in their respective MDAs to effectively manage PPP investments. It is also expected to provide a platform for networking and   shared learning among stakeholders in the global PPP space”, she said.