The Director-General, Infrastructural Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC), Mr Michael Ohiani says Nigeria is yet to upscale its infrastructure stock to the level that will drive the economy as expected.
Ohiani said this while delivering a Keynote Address virtually at the 2022 WorldStage Economic Summit(WES) with the theme : ‘Nigeria’s Economy: Bridging the Infrastructural Gap” on Wednesday in Lagos.
According to him, while the major problem facing the economy is the lack of adequate infrastructure, the government alone cannot afford to provide the funding necessary to achieve the infrastructure up to the level needed.
Ohiani said the desired level would stimulate the much needed economic growth.
“It is a known fact that infrastructure drives economic growth and development of any nation.
“Our nation has over the years, produced several development plans, but
unfortunately, we have not yet upscaled our infrastructure stock to the level which will drive the economy as expected,” he said.
According to him, the Federal Government is totally committed to the development of infrastructure through Public Private Partnerships (PPP).
Ohiani said this is evidenced by President Muhammadu Buhari’s continuous commitment, as provided in the 2021-2025 National Development plan (NDP) which seeks to encourage more private sector participation in National
He said: “The NDP has a projected N348.1 trillion, with the entire government of the federation programmed to provide about N49 trillion.
“The remaining amount is programmed to be provided by the private sector.
“This has been the trending truth over the years, that the revenue to our government cannot meet the needed infrastructure quantum and speed.”
The acting director-general noted that the ICRC Act of 2005 came into existence to enable private sector participation in the development and operation of critical infrastructure, which was hitherto the obligation of the government to provide.
He noted that the country needed to have more investments and innovative ideas on infrastructure development using already proven and trusted techniques from around the world.
Ohiani also said that there was need for more commitment from the private sector towards the actualisation of those goals.
He said that in the past 14 years, ICRC has gotten Federal Executive Council approval for more than 50 projects, amounting to more than N3 trillion in private sector funds and currently providing regulatory guidance on more than 200 projects.
“As part of the ICRC mandate, we gazette and publish a list of PPP eligible projects
annually, so that prospective investors will know when and what to invest in.
“As at May 2022, there are 77 post-contract PPP projects under implementation at the
ICRC Projects Disclosure Portal (www.ppp.icrc.gov.ng or www.icrc.gov.ng).
“The portal is the first disclosure portal in the world, established in collaboration with the world bank.
“As at May 2022, there are 197 pre-contract projects at Development and Procurement
phases at the ICRC Website a between 2010 and 2021.
“Also, under the regulatory guidance of the ICRC, the Nigerian government has approved PPP projects worth more than 8 billion dollars.
“As at May 2022, the ICRC has issued 128 Outline Business Case Compliance Certificates, which show their bankability.
“In the same period, the ICRC has issued 50 Full Business Case Compliance Certificates to date,” he said.
According to him, the continuing success of PPP’s around the world and even in Africa shows us that government can share in the responsibility of providing infrastructure given the right
guidelines, and within the regulatory framework provided by the ICRC establishment Act 2005.
The acting director-general noted that government had laid the foundation in the ICRC act, saying, “It is now time for the private sector to take advantage of this huge opportunity to invest and develop critical infrastructure through private finance initiatives”.
He said ICRC is opened to investors and could be reached for advice and guidance in the development of PPP projects.
Ohiani commended WorldStage for organising such forum to brainstorm on the challenges causing infrastructural gap in the country and contributing in proferring solutions to it.