Engineers have called on the federal government to fully embrace Public Private Partnership (PPP) as a panacea for funding the $3.1 trillion infrastructure gap.
This was the decision reached at the 3rd College of Fellows roundtable symposium, organised by the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) with the theme: “Involvement of Private Sector in the Procurement of Public Infrastructure through Public Private Partnership.”
Declaring the event open in Abuja yesterday, the president of NSE, Engr. Adekunle Mokuolu, was hopeful that in the next 50 years that the Society would have provided solutions to the yearnings of Nigerians, stating the need to embrace fundamental attitude in order to implement the vision.
He harped on strong collaboration between fellows in the public service and private sector, with a view to proffering solution to the endemic problems bedeviling Nigeria.
The president challenged fellows to deploy their intellectual resources to make the country a better place even as he urged them to mentor at least five young engineers since they are the future of Nigeria.
Also speaking, the chairman board of fellows/ college of fellows, Engr Felix Atume, noted that over years, Nigerians believed that it’s the responsibility of government to provide infrastructure adding that government cannot meet up with such task due to paucity of funds. In his contribution, a World Bank PPP consultant, Engr. Chukwuma Katchy, said since that there were lots of funds in the private sector, many governments had started adopting PPP as its complementary structure.
According to him, “If PPP is fully adopted in Nigeria, it may not cover the greater part of infrastructure but it will go a long way to bridge the infrastructure gap while government’s resources can be channeled in other areas.”
He affirmed that governments adopted PPP due to funding challenges, project efficiency, reduction of corruption as a result of contract inflation and timely completion of project.
Katchy pointed out that in adopting PPP, there must be alignment of interest between the government and private sector, insisting that there must be contractual management plans to manage the projects.
He suggested that the public sector must create a PPP unit aside other existing units in the institution, stating that PPP must be done in a pragmatic and strategic way since investors are interested in the market.
Also speaking, the acting director general/ chief executive officer of Infrastructure Concession and Regulatory Commission (ICRC), Engr. Chidi Izuwah, disclosed that federal government needed to spend $15 billion annually to bridge the infrastructure gap. To achieve this, he said that there was the need for additional capital through the private sector, adding that Nigeria was the first country recognised by World Bank to unveil PPP portal.
Izuwa stated that the biggest challenge faced in Nigeria was lack of infrastructure, without which the country cannot advance further in terms of economic, competitiveness and business.
He described the herdsmen/farmers’ clashes as an infrastructure problem, stating that with the right kind of infrastructure and ranching, the clashes would end.