Nigeria’s Infrastructure: Obasanjo Advocates Strong Public-Private Partnership

Olusegun Obasanjo, Nigeria, Public-Private Partnership, infrastructureFormer 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.

Uninterrupted Power Supply: Ayade Sets 2017 Deadline

Uninterrupted Power Supply: Ayade Sets 2017 DeadlineThe 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.

Uninterrupted Power Supply: Ayade Sets 2017 Deadline
construction site for power plant

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.

labourers

“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.

Ayade Presents 2017 Budget To Cross River House of Assembly

Ayade Presents 2017 Budget To House of AssemblyThe Cross River State Governor, Ben Ayade, has presented the 2017 Appropriation Bill of 301 billion naira to the state House of Assembly.

Christened ‘Budget of Infinite Transposition’, the budget, according to the Governor, seeks to achieve three cardinal objectives of improving and expanding infrastructure through Public Private Partnership, planting the tree of the state future revenue generation and gradual industrialization of the state.

Giving a breakdown of the budget, N81,142,339,895.32 is allocated for recurrent expenditure while N220,060,873,053.48 is allocated for capital expenditure.

The recurrent expenditure represents 24.8% of the budget while the capital expenditure represents 75.2% of the budget estimate.

He said that the state intends to fund the budget from Internally Generated Revenue (IGR), Statutory Allocation, Capital Receipts and Projected Investor Revenue from Direct Foreign Investments.

According to the estimate, N81,142,339,895,32 is expected to be generated through IGR, N41,676,220,113.64 from statutory allocation, 76,070,524,023.85 from donor agencies, 38,474,892,065.29 from the Federal Government’s Economic Recovery Fund and 63,839,236,850.70 from revenue from investments.

Making the presentation, Ayade informed the Assembly that it was the desire of his administration in 2017 to focus on the superhighway because it is the main energy that will open up the vista of opportunities for prosperity.

Describing the size of the appropriation bill as ambitious, Ayade said he was optimistic that it can be achieved because when there is cash deficiency, the intellect takes over.

Benue Govt. Flags Off International Cargo Airport

Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom on insecurityThe Benue State government and its joint venture partners under the Public Private Partnership, has flagged off the 38 Billion Naira Benue international cargo airport on a 6,000-hectre land along the Makurdi-Lafia road.

Governor Samuel Ortom while speaking on the economic viability of the project conceived by former Minister of Aviation, Senator Stella Oduah, said, the 38 billion Naira investment by the Nigerian/Chinese consortium on the airport project and other service, would change the economy significantly.

On its part, the consortium financing the project, which is now under the supervision of the Ministry of Aviation, is seeking security for men and infrastructure, as the governor perform the ground-breaking ceremony.

This 6,000 hectres of land along Makurdi-Lafia road, will host the Benue international cargo airport that will operate from the existing Makurdi Airport.

However, the project was stalled in 2014 when the management of the Nigerian Air Force Tactical Air Command refused to share the airport facilities with the proposed cargo airport project expansion.

The project, which is on a ‘build, operate and transfer agreement’ for a period of 25 years, is being flag off to accommodate cargos from Benue, Nasarawa and Plateau states.

While explaining the delay in the take-off of the project, Governor Ortom gave credit to his former colleague and Aviation Minister, Oduah, outlining the benefits of the project.

Already, the contractors handling the Benue International Cargo Airport project have mobilised to the 6,000 hectres site, with a promise to deliver the project for commissioning in five years.

FG Woos Private Investors To Develop Housing Sector

Babatunde Fashola on HousingThe Federal Government of Nigeria has expressed its preparedness to enter into a public-private partnership with private investors, in order to address the housing needs of citizens.

The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, hinted reporters of the government’s plan shortly after inspecting some housing projects in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.

He said the government was exploring options aimed at delivering houses to Nigerians, especially in the northeast region.

The Minister added that the government would continue to provide a level playing ground for private investors to take advantage of the opportunities in the housing sector.

Meanwhile, he said investigation had commenced into the cause of the collapsed building in Gwarinpa, a town in the Federal Capital Territory.

After a visit to the scene, Mr Fashola explained that the collapse might have occurred as a result of poor quality control or lack of professionalism.

He appealed to construction workers to industrialise their cement mixing process for safety purposes.

The four-storey building under construction had collapsed in the early hours of Monday.

Six people have been rescued from the rubble so far and two others are still trapped, the Emergency Management Agency in the state said.

Two of the rescued persons hospitalised have been discharged.

The incident is the second in less than one week. A building had on August 24 collapsed in Apo Mechanic Village in the same city.

FG Promises To End Scarcity Of Aviation Fuel Soon

AviationThe Federal Government has assured air travelers that the scarcity of Jet A1 otherwise known as aviation fuel will soon be a thing of the past as efforts are being made to reduce the cancellation and rescheduling of flights due to the scarcity of the product.

Minister of State for Aviation, Mr Hadi Sirika, who disclosed this in Abuja while inspecting facilities at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport also announced federal government’s plans to concession the management of some airports through Public Private Partnership in order to upgrade the airports.

The Minister of State for Petroleum, Mr Ibe Kachukwu, also assured aviation industry practitioners and air travelers that the hardship being experienced as a result of scarcity of aviation is being addressed.

Private Operators To Manage Lagos Airport, Three Others

Lagos AirportThe federal government has announced plans to concession four major airports as part of efforts to develop and secure the aviation sector and diversify the nation’s economy.

Addressing aviation industry players ‎in Abuja, the Minister of State for Aviation, Captain Hadi Sirika, announced that the airports in Lagos, Abuja, Kano and Port Harcourt will be managed by private sector operators.

He also announced plans by the federal government to establish aviation development bank and an aviation university to provide funding and quality technical manpower for the industry.

It was the first aviation stakeholders’ forum since the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari came on board.

The Minister reiterated the commitment of the federal government to fast track the development of the sector through public private partnership.

He used the occasion to announce the streamlining of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) and the creation of employment opportunities for Nigerian pilots.

Although the presentation of the Minister received an applause from the stakeholders, some of them expressed concerns about the activities of some agencies under the ministry.

Others appealed to the federal government to urgently address the challenges being faced in the industry.

The one day forum which attracted airline operators, pilots and captains of the aviation industry is aimed at strengthening the sector towards efficient service delivery.

Ebonyi Governor Backs Buhari, Denies Dumping PDP

Dave-Umahi, ebonyi governorThe Governor of Ebonyi State, Mr Dave Umahi, has thrown his weight behind President Muhammadu Buhari’s move to fight corruption, saying that is what the nation needs presently.

Governor Umahi stated this in an interview with State House correspondents after a closed-door meeting he had with President Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

He also perceived that “without fighting corruption, Nigeria would never grow”.

Umahi visited the President to discuss the bad condition of some Federal Government roads in his state, especially roads that lead to the sites of some natural resources that investors had already expressed interest in.

He explained that investors would not be able to access the sites until the roads are fixed.

The Governor said, “Ebonyi State has solutions to the problems in the nation, in the area of agriculture, mineral resources like cement, lead, zinc, copper and coal. We also have a large deposit of salt.

“A lot of investors, when they heard of the patronage that the President intends to give to local production of these items, besieged Ebonyi State, because they want to invest in these areas.

“We have issues, the roads leading to these sites are federal roads and they are very difficult to access. So I came to ask Mr President for two things.

“One, some banks are willing to lend money to Ebonyi State to construct these roads and they want assurance from the Federal Government that when they lend us money to construct these roads, the Federal Government will reimburse them.

“Two, there are some people or companies that want to do Public-Private Partnership with the state government on the development of these roads and they want a guarantee from the Federal Government that they will allow them to put toll gates so as to get back their funds.”

Meanwhile, in reaction to claims that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Governor wants to defect to the APC, he said it was wrong to assume that he was planning to defect, adding that he was still very happy being a member of the PDP.

“That (I may be planning to dump PDP) is not correct. We have to understand what opposition is.

“When the President comes out to fight corruption, why should we oppose that? It is a very good job and that is what the nation needs.

“Without fighting corruption, there is no way this country can grow. So, we support the President because it is a very good policy.

“I support him personally because I am doing the same thing in Ebonyi State. I share the same character with him fighting corruption, and that does not amount to cross carpeting. I am still very happy being in PDP.”

National Sports Festival Will Come After AAG 2015 – Yakmut

Yakmut-DG,-National-Sports-CommissionThe Director General of the National Sports Commission (NSC), Al-Hassan Yakmut, has confirmed that the delayed 2014 edition of the National Sports Festival will be held after the All Africa Games (AAG) 2015.

Mr Yakmut while speaking on Channels Television’s sports programme, Sports Tonight, identified funding as a major problem that had stalled the event.

He said the commission was working towards a public-private partnership, as they await a positive response from the supposed 2014 festival host, Cross River State Government.

Yakmut was the Director of Grassroots Sports Development Department of the National Sports Commission before he took over from Honorable Gbenga Elegbeleye in May 2015.

Meanwhile, the AAG 2015 will run between September 4 and 15 in Brazzaville, Congo, and the Director General is optimistic that everything needed for the national games would be ready after the All Africa Games.

The Nigeria U-23 team is scheduled to face Defending Champions, Ghana, Senegal and Egypt in Group B of the the football events, while host country, Congo, will face Sudan, Burkina Faso and Zimbabwe in Group A.

Federal Court Declares Toll Collection On Lekki-Ikoyi Bridge Illegal

lekki bridgeThe Federal High Court in Lagos has declared  the collection of toll, on the Lekki-Ikoyi bridge, illegal.

Justice Saliu Saidu, who delivered the judgment on Thursday, held that there was no law in Lagos State authorising the collection of toll on the bridge.

A human rights lawyer, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, had filed a suit challenging the power of Lagos State to collect toll on the bridge.

In his judgment, Justice Saidu said that the power to control the Lekki Lagoon and other Federal Navigable Waterway lies with the Federal Government, adding that, although the Federal Government had given some authority to the state to construct the bridge, there was no law authorising or permitting the collection of toll on it.

He also insisted that the bridge is not a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) initiative for which the collection of toll can be allowed.

Addressing journalists after the judgment was delivered, Adegboruwa said that he would challenge any law the state may make to validate toll collection on the bridge.

“For now, everybody in Lagos State should be free to pass through that bridge without paying any money,” he said, maintaining that the bridge was built with tax payers’ money hence “we cannot pay tax to build a bridge and pay another money to use it.”

 

 

 

 

 

FG Reviews Partnership Policy For Housing

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.

Imoke Flags Off Construction Of Specialist Hospital

The Cross River State Government has flagged off the construction of a 105-bed Calabar Specialist Hospital which is billed for commissioning in March 2015.

Imoke disclosed that the project, which is located within Summit Hills, is in line with the state’s dream to provide world standard health care to the citizenry, in partnership with UCL Health Care Services.

Speaking at the event in Calabar, the state capital, Governor Imoke said the specialist hospital will not only transform the medical landscape of the state but will also ultimately enlarge the profile of healthcare delivery in the region and the country at large.

He also noted that the hospital will offer a comprehensive package of secondary, gynecology, obstetrics, pediatrics, internal medicine, general surgery, orthopaedics laboratory services and basic cardiology with plans to extend to oncology in the near future.

The cost of the hospital is N6.4 billion with the state government’s capital contribution set at N3.2 billion while the balance of the financial requirement will be sourced by UCL Health Care Services Limited, as its equity contribution to the Public Private Partnership (PPP).