The Federal Government has launched a portal that will help Nigerians monitor all Public Private Partnership (PPP) contracts in the country.
The Minister of State for Power, Works, Housing and Urban Development, Suleiman Hassan speaking at the launch in Abuja said one cardinal objective of the portal is to ensure transparency and prompt delivery of infrastructural projects.
The launch of the PPP disclosure web portal makes Nigeria the first in the list of countries to kick-start a transparent process for all public-private partnerships.
Various official members of the private sector and officials of international organizations were at the launch of the portal which is believed will allow proper monitoring of projects.
The launch of the public disclosure web portal now offers Nigerians the opportunity to track all infrastructural contracts awarded by the government.
The Federal Government has successfully completed a 100-unit housing estate in Imo State under the Ministerial Pilot Housing Project of the Ministry of Power, Works and Hosing.
The project was built through the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria to provide low cost housing for public workers across Nigeria.
The Minister of State for Power, Works and Housing, Mustapha Shehuri, said the Federal Government through the ministry would continue to strive to ensure that the challenge of housing deficit in Nigeria was surmounted.
He added that it was government’s plan to build mass housing units across the country for public workers over the next three years through a Public-Private Partnership arrangement.
The minister was speaking in company of the Imo State Deputy Governor, Eze Madumere, who represented Governor Rochas Okorocha at the commissioning of the housing unit at Naze industrial layout in Owerri, the Imo State capital.
He explained that national housing models have been designed and approved for each geo-political zone, to ensure the use of standard building materials.
“This housing unit is a Private-Public Partnership (PPP) arrangement which will be affordable to Nigerians, especially public servants.
“The Federal Government through the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing has signed a two billion Naira MoU with Shelter Afri (an African shelter company), to build affordable houses for Nigerians.
“So I want to call on workers in Imo State to take advantage of this scheme,” Shehuri said.
Hope To Middle Class Earners
Commending the Federal Government for the project, Mr Madumere said the project would go a long way to complement the policies of the State Government in providing affordable housing units for workers in the state.
He disclosed that the State Government was already in talks with the labour union in Imo State on the matter.
“This housing scheme is apt and what the state needs at this critical time; Imo residents need roofs over their heads. This is giving hope to the middle class earners.
“For us, it is a commendable effort. My leader and Governor of Imo State, Owelle Rochas Okorocha, is ever ready to continue to partner with the Federal Government in such programmes and projects, since it is geared towards making life better for the people of Imo State,” the Deputy Governor said.
In his address, the Managing Director of the mortgage bank, Mr Richard Esin, said the bank and the project have become effective vehicles through which the Federal Government actualises its policy for the provision of affordable housing for Nigerians.
He added that with the consistent contributions of the National Housing Fund Scheme, Nigerian workers would become eligible for mortgage loans at concessionary interest rates of 6% per annum.
“Through this scheme, over 2200 houses have been built for public workers by the Federal Government in all the six geo-political zones of the country. This in turn will surely address the housing deficit in the country,” Mr Esin said.
Climax of the occasion was the launch and cutting of the tape of the housing estate as the dignitaries were taken on a tour round the facility.
The 100-unit housing estate comprises of 48 units of 3-bedroom fully detached bungalows, 40 units of 2-bedroom semi-detached bungalows and 12 units of 1-bedroom terrace.
As disclosed by the mortgage bank, the sum of 592.3 million Naira was invested for the development of the 100-unit housing estate.
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has identified the public and private sector as the two legs for Nigeria’s socio-economic development, hence one cannot work effectively without the other.
He lamented that both the present and past governments in the country have not paid sufficient attention to work together with the private sector to develop the sector.
The former president made the remark at a seminar organised by the Kaduna Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture at the International Trade Fair Complex in Kaduna State.
The audience at the one-day seminar cuts across the business community, students, academia and political class.
Obasanjo, who was the chairman of the occasion, decried that Nigeria has not been able to harness her natural potentials in order to be at the same pace with other nations.
He faulted the reversal of the sale of refineries by the Umaru Yar’adua administration, which he said was largely responsible for the instability in the oil and gas sector.
The former president further stressed the need for government at all levels to collaborate with the private sector, in order to get Nigeria out of its present economic recession.
Need To Concession Critical Assets
A former Minister of Finance and National Planning, Dr. Shamsudeen Usman, also presented a paper with the theme: ‘Promoting Public-Private Partnership (PPP) as Panacea for Accelerated Growth and Development’.
Dr. Usman emphasised the need for government to concession some of its critical assets like the sea port terminals, airports and roads to enable them work effectively and also reduce financial burden on government.
He explained that a smooth public-private collaboration must have the highest political support, credible reward sharing formula and transparency.
The former minister added that most of the successful PPP projects were done during the Obasanjo-led administration, due to strong political will.
The host governor, Mr Nasir El-Rufai, on his part, highlighted some of the collaborative efforts of his administration with the private sector to be able to finance its multi-year plan in the major sectors of the economy.
Participants at the event noted that infrastructure in Nigeria is poor, due to old age, overburden or poor management, to meet the needs of over 170 million population.
They added that the competing needs of the economy have placed a huge burden on the government which they said cannot solely provide all the services required.
The Cross River State Governor, Ben Ayade, has set February 2017 as deadline to deliver on a 21 megawatts Calabar power plant, as part of his determination to ensure that the Calabar metropolis has 24/7 uninterrupted power supply.
Speaking during his routine inspection of the ongoing construction work at the site along the Parliamentary Extension in Calabar, the Cross River State Capital, Ayade explained that the power plant is a new technology which is cost effective.
Excited about the level of work done so far, Ayade said: “as you can see, there is massive construction work going on here at the site, we are putting the structural base for the installation of the 21 megawatt power turbines that have already been delivered on site.
“We have set February 17, 2017 as deadline to deliver uninterrupted 24/7 power supply to Calabar metropolis. With this singular effort, Calabar will be the first capital city to have uninterrupted power supply in the country”.
Speaking further he said, “the good thing is that this is the product and manifestation of the several Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs), I had signed early last year and today, we are at the construction stage to deliver on this all important project.
“As you can see, there is so much energy as several young men are already engaged and we are making plans to engage some of them permanently as maintenance staff after the construction.”
Ayade then revealed that the project was a Public Private Partnership (PPP) as the state was working in partnership with a Brazilian/American firm, which is also collaborating with the Cross River State Power Company “to establish and deliver on this world class independent embedded power plant here in Calabar.”
Offering further insight, the governor stated that he would ensure that “no contractor is paid until he meets the mile stones set.
“So, if you bring me an IPC, I must check to ensure that you have delivered as declared by the agencies concerned before you receive your payment.
“Secondly, I am driven by the passion and determination, which is why I am always on site instead of sitting in the office. This is rather very alien to me and that is why I am on site daily to ensure that we catch the pace because money is scarce, every little kobo will be accounted for.”
He expressed excitement that work is being done according to specification and approved designs.
Ayade assured residents that the state had concluded arrangement with Lilleker and Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company, to ensure uninterrupted power supply especially during the annual Calabar Carnival.
“In line with this effort, the state has provided 88 new transformers across the city centre for improved power supply to ensure that all parts of Calabar are lit during the yuletide.
He then used the opportunity to invite Nigerians to the festival.
“Let me use this opportunity to invite every Nigerian to stop searching for scarce dollars for overseas trips and come to Calabar for the festival and Carnival.
“We have everything you are looking for, hospitality, love, good treatment, everything you can think of is here in Calabar,” the governor said.
The Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) is discussing with officials of Em-Bud Studio 2000, an engineering firm from Poland, on areas of investment that would support the development efforts of the interventionist agency.
The Managing Director of NDDC, Mrs Ibim Semenitari, in a meeting with the representatives of the Polish company at the commission’s headquarters in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, said that the commission’s interest is partnering with organizations that shared its vision of fast-tracking development in the Niger Delta region
She assured the visiting officials that the Niger Delta region was safe for investments, and urged them not to entertain fears about working in the area. She added that the Em-Bud group did not make any mistake in looking in the direction of the Niger Delta for investment opportunities.
Representing the Acting Managing Director, Mrs Ibim Semenitari, the Directorate of Public and Private Partnership (PPP), Osmond Adiele, noted that the NDDC was constrained by inadequate funds which is the reason the commission is unable to make the required impact in the area of development projects.
He also dismissed insinuations that the commission had abandoned some of its projects.
The Chairman of Em-Bud Group, Mr. Emil Musial, while stating the reasons for the visit, said that their interest was in collaborating with the NDDC to develop the energy infrastructure in the region, especially in the area of solar power, as well as investing in projects that would turn waste products into wealth.
He added that the Polish company was not coming to Nigeria to experiment as they had executed similar projects in other developing countries.
The Chairman of the Em–Bud Group said that his company would attract international funding for developmental projects built around the PPP model which is working very well in other parts of the world.
The Federal Government of Nigeria has decided to contract some airports in the country, in order to reduce the huge resources it spends on airport infrastructure.
According to the Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi, the contract will be carried out in a Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement.
Mr Amaechi, who was speaking with journalists in Lagos, pledged a turnaround of air transport in Nigeria, particularly the decay of airport facilities and unprofitable status of domestic airlines.
He said “I am impressed by what we have seen. When people express dissatisfaction with the airport, they are looking at the terminal only, but there are lots of things that have been achieved to make aircraft fly safely. But there are projects that must be completed.”
The Minister promised that President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration would complete the remodelling projects of airport terminals in Kano, Port Harcourt, Abuja and Lagos and the new airports being built would all come on stream by December 2016.
Speaking on the expectation that Nigeria would have a national carrier, the Minister disclosed that the government is committed to establishing a national carrier, noting that government has set up a fact finding committee, which had finished its work.
Amaechi added that the government was presently studying it and would make its decision public in due time.
The Federal Government of Nigeria is working on reviewing the Public-Private Partnership arrangement for housing delivery.
The Supervising Minister of Housing, Land and Urban Development, Musa Sada, at a media briefing, explained that the Public-Private Partnership would need to be improved upon. He said that the Federal Government was focusing on making housing affordable in Nigeria.
Sada lamented the high cost of mortgage system in the country, which encouraged inflated cost for houses.
“People have not been able to afford houses in Nigeria because it is a cash and carry situation. Nowhere in the world do you acquire houses through cash and carry, even in African country.
“What happen is that you get a mortgage system whereby you will be able to own a house and pay for it sometimes for over 15 to 20 years.
“There should be an arrangement whereby, as long as you are servicing your mortgage, you will have your house until you finish the payment,” Mr Sada.
He was, however, optimistic that the newly established Nigerian Mortgage Refinancing Company would reduce mortgage by bringing in more finance for housing in the country.
At the presidential launch of the company in January, President Goodluck Jonathan decried the short tenure of loans to Nigerians by commercial and mortgage institutions.
He said that he would do all in his powers to alleviate the constraints to rapid housing development in the country.
State governments were urged to improve land registration systems in their states to enable Nigerians have access to land titles. since the call, some state government have started the issuance of electronic Certificate of Occupancy to land owners.
The Anambra State Government has released another 5billion Naira for continued rehabilitation of both public and mission schools in the state.
This comes one week after the presentation of 5billion Naira Conditional Grant Scheme for accelerated execution of projects in various Local Government Areas of the state, towards the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.
In a ceremony at the Women Development Center, Awka, the State Governor, Mr. Peter Obi, who presented the cheque alongside the Executive Secretary of the Universal Basic Education Commission, Dr. Suleman Dikko, announced that his administration though gradually coming to an end, would ensure total transformation of the education sector in the state.
When in 2011, Anambra State Governor handed over schools previously owned by missions back to them; he resolved to provide continued financial resources to assist in the renovation and reconstruction of the dilapidated buildings in those schools.
According to the Commissioner for Education, Dr. Uju Okeke, the Governor further embarked on procurement of school buses, laptops and instructional materials, and presently, over 250,000 laptops and over 400 buses have been distributed to schools. All those the commissioner said were geared towards producing high quality brains and better leaders of tomorrow.
While the Executive Secretary of UBEC, Dr. Suleman Dikko, maintained that the educational policy of Anambra State was one to be copied because of its direct impact, the Country Director of United Nations International Children’s Education Fund, UNICEF, Charles Nzuki, urged all to invest in education.
While over 1.6billion Naira went to the Catholic mission primary schools, over 1.1billion Naira went to the Anglican; another 2.3billion Naira went to the public schools, the State Governor, before the disbursement of the cheques, said that he was not yet done with the educational transformation of the state.
UNICEF has selected Anambra State out of the states in the South East of Nigeria for Private Public Partnership, PPP, which will be launched in March 2014.
Former Head of Interim Government of Nigeria, Ernest Shonekan on Tuesday said Nigeria’s infrastructure deficiency will remain persistent despite the federal government’s effort at transforming this critical aspect of development.
Mr Shonekan said this after he led the governing board of the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC), which he chairs, to present the 2011 annual report and audited financial statement of the commission to President Goodluck Jonathan in the presidential villa, Abuja.
He enumerated the challenges confronting the commission in the realisation of its goals as: inability to mobilise long term funding for project development, inability to commit Ministries, Departments and Parastatals (MDAs) to a stable and coherent pipeline of Private Public Partnership (PPP) and poor project preparation by MDAs.
Other challenges identified by Mr Shonekan are: inability to enforce vital aspects of the ICRC act in its current form, absence of coherent infrastructure investment programme, non-integration of PPP projects into the national planning framework and paucity of funds for the commission’s operations.
“Addressing these challenges is critical to the success of ICRC and the attainment of the infrastructure component of your transformation agenda,” Mr Shonekan said.
Consequently, he said it will require the political will of the Presidency and all the others to make sure that the country infrastructure is developed; adding that without infrastructures, there will not be much progress.
Mr Shonekan, who spoke to journalists at the end of the presentation, said “It is not only in this country that we have infrastructure deficit. If you look round now, even the developed countries have infrastructure deficits. The way forward is what everybody seems to be doing; and that is to see how they can reduce that deficit. So, each and every one of us have to put our thinking cap on to see how we can bridge that gap within a short period of time.
“With all these disasters that have been happening round the world, even western countries which started their infrastructural development well before us they are now thinking of doing fresh infrastructures because the infrastructure they had in the last century are becoming antiquated. We have an opportunity now to be able to do our own infrastructures. I think the best thing is to get people who are interested in the development of infrastructures to assist us in doing our own.
“That is why we said we will need the political will of the Presidency and all the others each and every one of us must have to contribute our own quota to make sure that we developed our own. Without infrastructures, there will not be much progress.
With the foundation laid and policy guidelines in place, Mr Shonekan said it was now “time to really work hard to make sure that we attract investors because infrastructure development is not a short term thing. It is a long term thing.”
He also pointed out that “nobody will come to invest in the country if he is not sure of the returns especially if it is a long term project. He will want to make sure that he is able to get something.”
On encouragement being given to the private sectors, he said “I think we are encouraging them enough, but we still have to do more because we are not competing against ourselves here we are competing against the rest of the world. Money will go to where they can earn better returns for their investments. We have to make sure that we start laying the red carpets for investors who are willing to come. In spite of all the challenges, we have to do more.”
The chairman of the ICRC earlier indicated that the commission recorded some achievements since its inauguration in 2008. Within its first two years “the commission recruited key staff, developed organisational processes and engaged MDAs and other stakeholders.”
It also developed a National Policy Framework for PPP, held regional engagement workshops across the country “to secure the buy-in of stakeholders” on the policy and issued operational guidelines for PPP to MDAs. The commission also worked on bridging institutional knowledge gap and “collaborated with states to set up their PPP units, transfer best practices, provide a legal, policy and regulatory environment that is conducive to private sector investment in infrastructure projects.”
Between 2010-2012, Mr Shonekan said the board focused on harnessing the commission’s regulatory role and cap its achievements with the winning of the Africa’s Investor Award in South Africa as well as the 2010 Public Private Partnership Award of the Commonwealth Business Council.
Presenting the commission’s 2011 report, Mr Shonekan said it received a little less than N1.1 billion appropriated for it and expended N1.016 billion.
“The sum of N325, 811,000 was brought forward from 2010 financial year and the balance in the capital vote of N8.5 million was moved forward to 2012,” He said.
He said out of this N325, 763,039.45 was spent as the remaining N47, 960.55 “was returned to the Consolidated Revenue Fund.”
A Financial analyst, Pascal Odibo on Thursday called on the Federal government to sack every public service officials involved in awarding the contract for the repair of the Lagos-Ibadan expressway to Bi-Courtney.
Mr Odibo, who was a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, said the government did not have to wait for three years before terminating the contract if those in public offices had a mechanism to conduct proper evaluation of the contract.
“You don’t even in the first instance award the contract to an efficient institution,” he said.
“Public service persons and personnel must be held responsible for the offices and the responsibilities that they occupy. It is not sufficient to be an assistant director; it is not sufficient to be a director in any ministry, department and agency of government and things fail and all you just do is to say you terminate a contract.
“Who approved the PPP (Public Private Partnership)? Who bided with Bi-Courtney? If Bi-Courtney did not do well why did it take three years to get to this position? And if indeed Bi-Courtney have not done the work, who is the second best bidder?” he asked.
Following the issues surrounding the Federal Government’s cancellation of the concession of the Lagos-Ibadan expressway to Bi-Courtney Consortium, a former Vice President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Ikeazor Akaraiwe, Thursday accused the government of lack of ‘due diligence’ in the contract.
Speaking as a guest on Channels Television’s programme, Sunrise Daily, the legal practitioner said the Federal Government failed to carry out sufficient investigations to ascertain why Bi-Courtney fell short of the terms of the concession contract.
“The government is being made to look like a juvenile; today saying one thing and tomorrow doing another thing,” he said.
In an effort to ensure a healthy living for it citizens through environment preservation, the Abia state government is set to partner with a German-based company which has revealed plans to set up a waste management and re-cycling technology centre in the state.
Representing the state governor, the Chief of Staff, Mr. Cosmos Ndukwe, received the chairman of the German company and his team at the government house, where he expressed the government’s readiness to partner with the Germans.
He expressed his profound optimism that the technology will enhance the social and economic potential of the state
According to the German consulting expert on environment, Mr. Michael Struve, the technology will generate huge income for the state as well as create job opportunities for the unemployed who are willing to learn.
In readiness for the Public Private Partnership (PPP) with the German company, Mr Ndukwe disclosed that residents in the state have been sensitized on the technology and they are willing to remove their metal scraps and wastes to create wealth.
Making a presentation at the reception, Mr Struve explained that the waste management process works with the collection of the disposal waste materials in a huge container.
These wastes are assembled at a place designated for the re-cycling process.
After the re-cycling process, 28 plastic drinking bottles becomes equivalent to one T-shirt, and 670 beverage cans will convert to a bicycle.
He also revealed that 19,000 aluminium tins can be turned into steel for car production, just as an old worn out tire can also be re-cycled to produce energy.
The German added that old telephones, mobile phones and electrical parts are not to be discarded as the company also plans to set up an electro-cycling factory that can treat 80,000 electronics per year.
According to Mr. Michael Struve, the state stands to make 100 percent profit worth trillions of Naira out of the technology transfer.
He added that the plan for the project will involve a final take-over of the technology by the state on the long run which he claimed; the company would be willing to transfer to the state.
He however requested that the company will like to have the monopoly for collecting all the wastes in the state.